Going to court can be scary, nerve-wracking, and confusing. With so many procedures and rules to follow, not to mention the stress of knowing so much may be at stake, creates a hectic situation for many people.
Having a game plan before you go to court for the first time can not only help calm some nerves but also give you a structure to help you cope. Once you’ve been in court, you won’t think it so intimidating moving forward. But, in the meantime, it’s an unknown for you. As a family law firm, we know there are some simple things you can do before your first court appearance to make it a less stressful experience.
Here are four things we recommend you do before your first court appearance:
Don’t just assume your attorney has everything under control. They probably do, but it will help everyone if you touch base and see if there is any last minute advice that they have. You also need to make sure there is nothing else they need from you in the way of documentation or paperwork.
Any documentation or paperwork that you know you need to bring with you to court needs to be organized and ready to go. The more prepared you are, the more confident you will be going to court.
Also, do you know how to get to the courthouse? You don’t want to get lost on your way to your first court date. It may be helpful to do a test drive to court around the same time of day that your appearance is scheduled so that you can see how bad the traffic is.
Your schedule for the day should revolve around your court appearance, not the other way around. You’ll need to arrive early at the courthouse. As the saying goes, “If you’re right on time, you’re late.”
Since you have no idea how long court will actually take, or what kind of mood you will be in when you get out, it’s a good idea not to schedule anything right before or after court. This includes work, so make sure to ask your employer for time off to deal with the court. The main thing is that your focus needs to be on your court appearance, not other items on your schedule.
Your first appearance in front of the judge is your only chance to make a first impression. How you dress in court is important. Dress as if you are going to a job interview or an important business meeting.
Neutral colors and conservative styles are what play well in court. When it comes to shoes, jewelry, hairstyle, and other accessories, conservative is best. Since you may be in the courtroom for a while, dress comfortably.
Court is not the time for you to show the world your fashion style. It’s time to look professional and make a good impression.
Court can be stressful and there are certain rules you have to follow. Your attorney will prep you about the protocol, as well as how and when to speak. The important thing is to remain calm, even when something happens you disagree with.
You do not want to interrupt the judge under any circumstance. You also do not want to get into a heated argument with the opposing counsel or anyone else in the court. You can always vent with your attorney later, but in court, it’s important you stay calm and collected. Have a game plan to accomplish this before you walk into court.
The best source of advice for getting through your first court appearance is your lawyer. If you are in Henry, Clayton, or Fayette counties, or live in the Atlanta metro area, contact Family Matters Law Group for help in your divorce or custody case. We make sure our clients are ready for their day in court, so contact us today. We’re ready to hear your story.