When couples have children, divorce and separation often lead to family court custody battles. When it comes to appearing in family court there are several do’s and don’ts. How you present yourself is extremely important.
Do: Keep yourself calm, cool and collected. No matter how stressed, fearful, or angry you may be, it is SO important to keep it all in. The judge will no doubt be watching your every move. That’s their job. They only get a few minutes to get a glimpse of who you are. You want to make sure you come across as a calm individual. Someone who does not get their feathers ruffled easily. Someone who is cool under pressure. This will give the judge an insight as to how you will act with your children if he or she grants you custody.
Don’t: Act nervous, agitated, or uncomfortable. The judge will see and may discriminate against you for it. Never become angry in the court room. You may put yourself at risk for getting yourself or your case thrown out and it certainly will not make you look like the better parent.
Do: Dress in your best. Wear something professional and business like. You want to appear well kept. The judge will see how you take care of yourself and will give you credit for that. They will assume that if you are taking good care of yourself you will also take care of your child or children.
Don’t: Appear in court a mess, wearing jeans or a tee-shirt. The judge will assume you are not taking the court appearance seriously enough to dress well for it and may discriminate against you for your lack of class.
Do: Present only facts. Facts and evidence are what a judge wants to see and hear. If you can prove something prove it. If not, say nothing. If the judge sees proof of what you are saying he or she will take it into consideration.
Don’t: Point fingers and sling accusations. If you cannot prove something it is best not to mention it. Unproved accusations and finger pointing is considered petty and childish. If you do not have proof of something the judge will think you are just trying to make the other person look bad. You’ll actually be making yourself look bad.
Do: Be confident and come across as an intelligent person. Confidence is often key to winning. A confident person shows no fear of losing. The judge will admire your confidence and will give you credit for it. They will see your lack of fear and will assume you know you have little to worry about. That’s a good indicator to the judge that you know you are capable of being a good parent.
Don’t: Act too overly confident. There’s a fine line between confidence and a know it all. If you act like you’ve already won you are sure to lose. If you act like you are so much better than the other parent then the judge will give the other parent more credit and you less credit.
Do: Be sincere and understanding. Show sincerity in your battle. Show a sincere desire to raise your children, not just a desire to not let the other parent have them. Show understanding for the other parent even though they are your enemy in the court room. Make the judge aware that you understand how much the other parent loves your child or children but that you feel you could better meet the child or children’s needs.
Don’t: Do not act like you dislike the other parent. Don’t come across as spiteful or heartless. These actions will get you nowhere.