[I]t doesn’t matter how much research or homework you do before you enter that courtroom as a defendant or plaintiff, it’s intimidating. Even if you have done everything right, or “by the book” in these circumstances, it’s still overwhelming.
The whole atmosphere, from the almost staid surroundings to the uncomfortable quiet, it’s not a welcoming place.
Then you have to rise when the judge, wearing a robe, no less, walks in. And that judge will be talking to you. And you will be talking back. So what do you say? Or not say? Most courtroom rules should be covered between you and your attorney, but this might be a good place to start. When you speak:
Seven Courtesy Tips When Talking to a Judge
1. You address the judge. You do not go through a third party.
2. You do not talk to your Ex’s attorney without your attorney’s permission. This rule extends beyond the courtroom.
3. Do not interrupt the judge. Ever.
4. You should not interrupt the opposing party. You will be given a chance to respond. If that situation doesn’t arise, request an opportunity to respond. Don’t rebut indiscriminately. And don’t launch into a tirade. That will only bring you trouble, even if you are right.
5. Be careful in stating your arguments. Don’t accuse the opposing party of cheating or treating you unfairly. Avoid claiming you never wanted the divorce, or any other “cheap shot” or other claim that the court isn’t treating you fairly. It will not help your case.
6. Come prepared. Have copies of all documents that support your claims. This can be complicated and confusing, but your attorney can help you with this one.
[tweet “In court, stick to provable facts as much as If you demonstrate seriousness with the business at hand, the judge will recognize that and will be more likely to rule in your favor, especially if the other side fails to make the same preparations.
7. Finally, show respect to the judge, the process and the law. Don’t push or pressure the judge. And always say, “Thank you, for your time and consideration” even if the decision goes against you.
You will be a better person because of it, and believe it or not, that one act will make you look better in front of judge and everyone else.
What tips would you add in addressing a judge?
Image courtesy of Mike Licht from Flickr.