Few people find themselves in a courtroom regularly, and if you have an upcoming hearing or trial for your family law case, you may be asking yourself what the proper decorum is in a courtroom. For those not in the know, here are some helpful tips:
- Dress nicely. While you don’t necessarily need to wear a suit, wearing business casual dress attire demonstrates your respect for the court and starts you off on the right foot. Think about what you would wear to church (if you attend) or for a job interview.
- Do not talk during a hearing out of turn. You should generally not interrupt witnesses, attorneys, or the judge, or whisper to your attorney during a hearing. If you need to tell your attorney something, write it down. Also, keep in mind the microphones at each party’s table will probably pick up any whispering or “under your breath” comments you make on the court recording.
- It is customary to stand when you are speaking to the judge unless you are on the witness stand testifying.
- Do not grimace, shake your head at the opposing party or his attorney, or make inappropriate facial or body gestures during the hearing. The judge is assessing your credibility and character from the bench, and he or she can see quite well from the bench.
- Do not bring witnesses or a support system with you who can’t follow these rules. Judges can see everything from the bench (see #4), and this will reflect poorly upon you.