No married couple plans for divorce. While the honeymoon period eventually comes to an end, spouses settle in, some for the long haul. Other pairings fall apart, and marital dissolution is the only option. While legal proceedings can be cooperative, others can be rife with conflict. When mediation is no longer an option, the courtroom becomes the venue for some form of resolution.
Entering the hallowed halls of a family law courtroom can be intimidating and overwhelming, particularly if you and your spouse are at odds in every aspect of your divorce. Divorce combines legal complexities with emotionally charged issues. Unlike mediation, the final resolution remains a mystery until a family court judge makes a ruling.
Proper conduct and composure is vital
Uncertainty combines with stress and fear. Preparation is paramount, with attention to every detail. Those proactive steps can make a difference in maintaining your sanity, allowing you to tell your story while maintaining a sense of composure.
Specific recommendations include:
- Dress in a professional yet comfortable manner. While you want to make a good first impression, clothing and footwear should be equally comfortable.
- Address everyone with politeness and respect. Courts remain extremely traditional. “Your honor,” “please,” and “thank you,” among other terms, show that you hold authorities and the courtroom in high esteem.
- While emotions run high, maintaining composure is vital. Admittedly, it is tempting to “out” a spouse who may have been abusive. However, the courtroom is not the venue to bring up those highly personal and potentially damaging accusations that can easily backfire.
- Keep goals and expectations on a reality-based level. Treating it like a war only makes a bad situation worse. Push for compromise, but don’t expect an unreasonable spouse to suddenly become reasonable.
Divorce often sees people at their worst. Choosing the path of cooperation can help set a more positive tone when a marriage ends.