Court room proceedings and trials before judges are misunderstood many times by members of the public and compared with certain reality TV court shows. In reality, the courtroom process is a high-emotion place with those who prevail and those who do not. Television and the pressures of trial sometimes obscure the simple reality of a trial: within the bounds of certain laws and trial rules, a trial is aimed at giving a neutral fact finder the information necessary to make a sound, fair legal decision.
It is not that much different from going to the doctor, your boss, church or any other event where a first impression is important. In this blog, a few common sense pointers are provided to help you make your best impression in the court—although you already know them. The first is to be on time and dress professionally. This may seem basic, but staggering numbers of people arrive to court late and dressed in appropriate attire. A baseball hat, shorts and shirt touting the event of the moment is an example.
The second pointer is to be genuine and look at the judge and show appropriate respect and emotion. A sterile recounting of all of the reasons mother is a bad person to be the custodial parent is unlikely to gain the ground of importance as an emotional father talking about being denied a key day, such as father’s day or no reason (the same is said for the opposite sex or same sex couples).
The final and most important pointer is to listen and pay attention to your body language. Judges are to consider the person as a whole and weight their credibility on disputed facts. An angry display with colorful language is the obvious extreme, but with paying attention to judges and their actions and rulings can tell a litigant and attorney a great deal about how he or she views a case. Listen and observe when not being called upon to testify.
While common sense, violation of the basic rules of decency and decorum do more to harm a case than about anything else. Listen, learn, and have your best day in court. This blog post was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. who handle family law cases through the State of Indiana. It is provided for general informational purposes, is not legal advice nor a solicitation for services.