If your divorce is going all the way to court, you and your divorcing spouse probably ran up against several sticking points that you were unable to work out via mediation. Often, high asset divorces, especially contentious divorces, and divorces involving family businesses make their way into court. Divorce is stressful enough, but going to court can send your stress level through the roof. Knowing what to expect and understanding court etiquette can help make the process less daunting and can provide you with the confidence you need to face what lies ahead. If you’re facing a divorce, you need the skilled legal counsel of an experienced Houston divorce attorney.
Frequently Asked Questions
It can help to understand that you are not alone in being nervous about going to court. In fact, most people get nervous when they have to go before a judge. As such, the answers to five of the most commonly asked court-related questions will likely help put your mind at ease.
Question 1: What should I expect?
If you’ve never been to court before, it can be difficult to imagine what to expect – other than what you’ve seen in emotionally charged legal dramas. Forget the television shows, and remember that courtrooms are generally dull, quiet places that are presided over by a judge, who sits front and center. Typically, things remain fairly sedate in courtrooms – with an occasional theatrical turn. If you enter the courtroom with an attitude of respect for the law, for the judge, and for other occupants of the courtroom, you will do well. Your experienced Houston divorce attorney will work closely with you to help ensure that you feel comfortable and well prepared by the time you make your court appearance.
Question 2: When should I arrive?
Going to court will likely leave you feeling a bit on edge, and that’s to be expected. Arriving at least 15 minutes early will give you the cushion you need to get your bearings before moving forward with the work at hand. It’s likely that you will meet your attorney ahead of time somewhere in the courthouse (outside of the courtroom) before you make your way to the courtroom. It’s nevertheless a good idea to be at the courtroom at least 15 minutes prior to your appointed time. Remember, too, that, because court dockets are often very busy, you may have to wait beyond that appointed start time.
When you leave for the courthouse, don’t forget to factor in the time it will take to drive there and any effects that traffic may have on your progress; the time it will take to find parking, to park, and to walk in; the time it will take to get through security; and the time it will take to catch a busy elevator and make your way to the floor of your courtroom – don’t forget to factor in a bathroom break. If you’re unfamiliar with the part of town where the courthouse is located, it’s a good idea to do a trial run a few days ahead of time to make sure you’re comfortable with the journey and to scope out the parking options. Rushing into the courtroom at the last minute – or even late – is a terrible way to start.
Question 3: How should I dress?
When you head to court to obtain your divorce decree, you want to be comfortable, but you also want to feel confident and to take pride in your appearance. Allow your clothing choices to express your respect for yourself and for the court. The dress code for most courts bans tank tops, muscle shirts, hats (other than religious headwear), shorts, and clothing with offensive graphics or text. There are no pictures or videos allowed in the courtroom, so it’s a good idea to keep your phone turned off and put away.
Questions 4: Can I bring my children with me to court?
Generally, children have no place in the courtroom, and because there are no babysitting or childcare facilities in the courthouse, you should not bring your children with you. Children are a distraction for everyone, and everyone who’s in the courtroom is there for an important reason. Only if the court requests to see your children in his or her chambers should you bring them with you to court. Allow yourself plenty of time to make sure you have ironclad plans for your children to be supervised by a trusted family member or daycare provider for the entire time you will be in court. You don’t want to have the extra burden of having to make emergency babysitting plans at the last minute.
Question 5: Are there any courtroom rules that I don’t know about?
With the information above, you should be fairly well prepared regarding courtroom etiquette. The driving force behind most courtrooms is maintaining order and relative quiet. Generally, only either the judge or whomever the judge has called upon to speak should be speaking at any given time. It’s the judge’s job to maintain order, so if you follow his or her lead, you will be well on your way to understanding and abiding by courtroom etiquette.
Again, courts have busy dockets, and it’s very likely that there will be other people in attendance in the courtroom while you wait for your case to begin. Don’t let this disconcert you. In fact, observing the proceedings may give you a better feeling for what you can expect once your case begins.
If You’re Facing a Divorce, You Need an Experienced Houston Divorce Attorney
Going to court can be daunting, but going to court with a skilled and knowledgeable divorce attorney who’s on your side helps. The dedicated legal team at Rudisel Law Firm, P.C., in Houston has the experience and commitment to help guide your case toward its best possible resolution. We’re here to help, so please don’t hesitate to contact or call us at 713-781-7775 for more information today.