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Your behavior in family court can impact your case

You likely don't plan to spend any time in court before a judge during your divorce. However, sometimes couples simply can't reach an agreement on one or more issues and need to ask a judge for a decision.

No matter how strong your arguments are, how you behave in court can make the difference between a decision going your way or not. Judges have to follow the law, but they are human. They can be persuaded favorably or unfavorably by the demeanor and actions of the people who appear in their courtroom. If you have to appear before a judge more than once, that first appearance can impact how a judge feels about you for the remainder of the proceedings.

Your attorney will likely give you some guidance. However, following are some key things that everyone should remember.

Dress appropriately

You don't have to go out and buy an expensive new suit or dress. However, it's important to show respect for where you are by what you wear. Even if you're trying to convince the judge that you need more alimony or can't pay the alimony that's been ordered, showing up in torn jeans isn't going to help your case.

Don't argue with judges or tell them that they don't understand the situation

They're well-educated people whose job it is to make important decisions. Telling them that they're wrong isn't going to go over well. Certainly, never interrupt the judge.

Family court judges understand that divorce and custody matters can be highly emotional for those involved. However, keeping your anger and emotions in check can be essential to a positive outcome. If your attorney is concerned about your behavior, he or she will tell you. It's important to listen to and heed that guidance.

Source: Huffington Post, "5 Things Your Divorce Judge Wants to Tell You, But Doesn’t," Jason Levoy, accessed Feb. 16, 2018

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