General Tips for the Courtroom

Your pending family law case should be one of your most important concerns. 

While your lawyer will do the talking for you during hearings, don’t assume that the judge hearing your case won’t make personal observations about you and your ex in court.  The non-verbal cues you send across the courtroom can spell the difference between believing your story or your ex wife’s or ex husband’s. 

Here are some things to remember when attending a hearing:

  • Attend all your hearing dates and be punctual at all times.  Your regular attendance shows that your child is important to you and that you care about the outcome of your case.
  • Appear in clean and pressed clothes and observe good personal hygiene.  Looking like you just woke up or had a long night out drinking with friends may create a negative impression about how responsible you can be with your child.
  • Don’t bring along a new lover or partner during your hearing.  If you must need moral support, let a close relative or a friend of the same sex accompany you in court. 
  • Be attentive during the hearing.  Avoid side conversations with the person next to you  or talking to your lawyer while the court is in session.  If needed, your lawyer can ask for time to confer with you.
  • When making statements or answering questions in court, always address the judge as “Your Honor”.
  • Maintain a calm demeanor.  Don’t allow your ex wife to provoke you into saying something ugly in the presence of the judge.  Be at your best behavior regardless of how the other parent is in court.  Besides, shouting and other aggressive behavior may be considered disrespectful to the judge and may be cause for contempt.   

2 thoughts on “General Tips for the Courtroom

  1. Rina

    I am a naturalized Us citizen,I have a 6 yrs. old daughter whom, i petitioned as “Born Abroad” so she is carrying a blue US passport.My ex and I were not married. He was already annulled and I was divorced then and at present became a widow with my first husband. When I renewed my daughters passport, I was strongly advised that I file a sole child custody to avoid the hassle of asking permission from the father since we actually have a strained relationship.I have my daughter with me and never did I ask any help from the father financially. My daughter is using my ex’s family name. He tries to borrow her only when he feels bored, not consistent. I don’t feel comfortable lending my daughter to him for the following reasons: 1. he has a personality disorder , that was also the cause of his first marriage. 2.He snaps freaks out from time to time.3. He maligns me when he has a chance to talk to her alone. He already threatened me and my kids including our helpers one time when he brought my daughter home infact, I filed a police blotter just to make sure. .4. He fought with the village guards while my daughter was inside his car.5. He has a panic disorder from time to time and he was required to report back with his shrink from time to time.Lastly, I have a strong feeling that he is not the biological father , and I think he knows that. I offered a DNA testing and he did not approved it. My question is, do I have enough grounds to file a sole custody? can I still change my daughters last name? and use mine instead?he has a 20 yrs. younger GF. Do you have a good family law lawyer?He did not support his 2 children with his first marriage.He is literally a spoiled brat.Please advise…

    1. Atty. Post author

      Rina: It seems from your narration that you do need to file a petition for sole custody just to confirm your right of authority over your child. But you do have to remember that the biological father has the right to reasonable visitation. So, the you may have to address the question of paternity first. You are right, you do need a family lawyer to handle a situation such as yours. I will be sending you a name and office number/address of a good family lawyer through email. She was a classmate in Ateneo law school and has proven experience in this type of litigation. Kindly check your email soon.

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