September 30, 2015 | Share
Family Court Etiquette for Minors and Adults
A family court session may be intimidating to some clients, particularly when a lot is at stake or when you haven’t had much experience in the legal arena. We understand this anxiety and hope that we can help you feel more comfortable with the process.
Following a few basic rules of etiquette helps ensure that you know what to do and how to act so you can focus on what matters most without being distracted. Additionally, acting rude, disrespectful, out of control or violent in speech or mannerisms can derail your case and in severe cases may result in criminal charges.
The following tips will help children and adults get through court with as much confidence as possible. Contact the Frisco family attorneys at Nordhaus Walpole PLLC with any questions about how to prepare for court or to start getting the representation you need.
- Dress appropriately. There are plenty of places to express yourself through fashion. In court, aim to express yourself as respectful and rule-abiding. Your clothes can show you take yourself, your case and the law seriously. Men should consider a suit or matching pants and jacket with a collared shirt and a tie. Women are encouraged to wear a pants or skirt suit or matching jacket and pants or skirt with a collared shirt.
- Groom appropriately. Men, women and children should always shower before court. All cultural hair styles are welcome in court but hair should always be clean and neatly arranged. You are also advised to avoid heavy scents that distract or may cause allergic reactions.
- Turn off all electronics. Cell phones, pagers, tablets, music devices, laptops and any other electronics should be off while you are in court. Make arrangements in advance for important calls, emails or texts.
- Address the judge respectfully. The only appropriate terms for the judge are “Your Honor” or “” While it is not breaking any rules to call the judge “sir” or “ma’am” — and you won’t wreck your case if you slip up and use one of these terms, these titles are actually beneath the judge. Mull over the idea beforehand, so that you are ready to show the proper respect.
- Control your emotions. You may hear things you don’t like in court. Some of these things may cut deeply, especially if you hear lies or trumped-up accusations or receive unfavorable news. You may have to speak about things that make you very angry. Under no circumstance is it acceptable to interrupt, yell or curse. If you do these things, you may ruin your case and find yourself removed from the courtroom or having to deal with criminal charges. Outbursts will not be tolerated by the judge.
- Help kids feel comfortable. Talk to children beforehand about what’s going on. A good tactic is to include them in the overview of why court is important for your family, but not overwhelm them with details that aren’t appropriate for their age. Avoid trashing the other parent at all costs.
If you have any questions about family court proceedings, please feel free to ask us anything. It’s better to have a good idea of what to expect than to go into an important court date feeling nervous. Just remember a little nervousness is normal, but we’re here to help. Contact us today to discuss your case.
Categories: Family Law & Divorce