When involved in the divorce process, it’s exceedingly important to conduct yourself and your actions in a manner that the Court deems proper. Many times, acting emotionally or responding to the other party negatively can be used against you in Court. Here are some divorce tips and tricks to keep in mind to ensure that you are not exposing yourself to liability that could have lasting effects on the determination of your case.
Tip #1: If you agree with your ex on anything related to your divorce, get it in writing!
I have seen many clients initially believe that critical portions of their case were settled because they often relied on an oral agreement by phone call. Later on, the other party might change their mind. You may be stuck trying to figure out how to prove there was actually an agreement. Oral agreements can still be valid, but it is much more difficult to prove the existence of the agreement in Court if the other party re-negs on the existence of it. You could be in deep waters thinking that your case may be over by settlement, only to find out later that your ex still intends to go forward on a full trial on all issues.
Get things in writing. In some cases, the evidence of an agreement can be used as a supportive exhibit in your case. Obtaining agreement by text message, email, and written stipulations are preferential. So, it might be best to avoid relying wholly on oral agreements or “handshake agreements.”
Tip #2: When going to Court, dress for success.
A court of law is a valued and respected institution that is deeply rooted in our history. By appearing in Court, judges expect participants to conduct themselves respectfully and dress professionally and appropriately. First appearances impact how judges perceive a party’s credibility when determining the outcome of their rulings. Dressing in formal attire or business casual conveys to the judge that you are taking their courtroom and the legal process seriously. Refrain from chewing gum or wearing tank tops or sandals to Court. It seems obvious, but you would be surprised how many people show up to Court in the same outfit they would wear to the beach!
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Tip #3: When going to Court, do not talk over one another and do not interrupt the judge.
The court process relies on a judge hearing both sides argue the merits of their case. The judge cannot interpret and process information effectively if parties speak over one another. If this happens, it is common for the judge to become irritated. They certainly will admonish the parties to stop interrupting one another. If it gets excessive, the judge can even fine you for not complying with the Court’s rules! Even worse, judges will not be happy if you continually interrupt their speaking with words of your own. The judge is the king of their courtroom, so do not take actions that will disrespect them.
Tip #4: When you inform the judge about your ex’s perceived wrongdoings, avoid insulting your ex and just report the facts plainly. The tone of what you say matters.
Divorce can sometimes be a combative process. You may have the urge to report to the judge about every single bad thing your ex has done to you and how it has affected your case and life. This usually comes across as a party going down a laundry list of insults about the other party. It may be difficult to refrain from doing so, but the Court needs simple facts of what occurred to have context for their legal ruling. Many facts can be immaterial or important to what the judge needs to know to correctly apply the law in their determination.
For example, let’s say that Person A and Person B are both filing for custody of their child. Person B has continuously returned their child to person A two hours late over the agreed-upon exchange time. Person A could simply report that Person B has been late to return the child on specific dates. Instead, they add that Person B is extremely lazy like a sloth, as they always have been during their marriage. As you can see, the method of how the information is given can change how a judge views the speaker. This judge may hold the tone of Person A’s statements against them, which could negatively impact Person A’s desired outcome.
Divorce Tips and Tricks set you up for success.
In sum, the judge will appreciate your actions if you carry yourself in a respectful manner and to one another as well. Having an attorney on your side will ensure that you are following the rules and preferences of the Court. This will put you in the best position to be successful in your case. We would love to talk to you more about your case. Please schedule a consultation today.