If you have to go to Court, you are likely going to appear in front of the Judge. You may stand in front of the bench where the Judge sits, or you may be at a counsel table with your lawyer, or you may be on the witness stand.
When you are in Court like that, you certainly want to get as favorable a ruling as possible. The facts and law matter, but a third factor that can't be overlooked is how you appear to the Judge. When you are in Court, you are being evaluated by the Judge as well as the other side's attorney. Making a good impression can help your cause.
Here are some things to keep in mind when considering how to favorably impress the Judge.
1. Appear reasonable. You are much more likely to get what you want if you don't come across as crazy or unreasonable. The Judge is very likely to not side 100% with either party and Judges tend to split things fairly evenly. If you start out wanting all of the most valuable things or a high percentage in the property division, that may hurt your chances of getting what you want.
2. Appearances count. Come to Court in nice clothes, something you might wear to church or work. Don't be flashy or trashy.
3. Be Prepared. It's a good idea, even if you're not a Boy Scout. Bring what you need. Don't say you can bring it later; now is probably your only opportunity. Work with your lawyer to know what you need to bring.
4. Be under control. That's especially true in front of the Judge, but also true outside of the courtroom. What you do and say away from Court is often reported in Court, so think about how your actions and words might sound in Court.
5. Don't interrupt. If you are in Court, don't interrupt attorneys, other witnesses and especially not the Judge. You're not in charge. Your attorney and the Judge know what's important. Follow their lead, even if you don't get to share something you think is important.
6. Don't react or be rude. Notice that almost every time an attorney loses a ruling, he or she will usually say, "Thank you, Judge." It is a courtesy. Your should also be courteous.
7. Turn off your cell phone.
Going to Court can be very stressful, but sometimes is necessary. Do yourself a favor. Be prepared and keep your emotions under control. Most of all, talk with your attorney and follow his or her advice. Good luck!
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