Judges are people, like you and me. While they are supposed to be neutral and abide only by the law when making decisions about your life, judges are not machines. No matter how much of an effort you make to present your side as the right one, ultimately, the outcome of your case and of your divorce is determined by the judge, and the judge alone.
It’s important to remember that if your judge forms a negative opinion about you - especially early in your case, you could be in for a long, stressful and disappointing ride.
With that in mind, here are five things your divorce judge won’t tell you, but would like to:
- Never be disrespectful to me, my staff or your spouse. Courtrooms are formal places. When you’re in court, you need to keep that in mind at all times. Even if you feel the judge isn’t paying attention to you, they are. If the judge feels that you are disrespectful toward anyone, you will feel the repercussions. Whatever you do, do not interrupt the judge while they are speaking.
- The way you look matters. In a divorce proceeding, it’s likely that the most credible piece of evidence you can prevent is yourself. Presenting yourself as well groomed and well mannered as possible can go a long way in the opinion the judge forms about you. First impressions are still everything. Even in a courtroom.
- Do not insult my intelligence. The level of education you have achieved matters very little in the courtroom. If you speak in a condescending tone or develop an attitude that the judge is somehow incompetent, you will end up facing a very long and uphill battle.
- Keep your solutions realistic. Judges don’t want to make every decision regarding the way your life will be lived. So if the judge sees that you are making a real effort to be reasonable even when your spouse is not, they will see you in a more favorable light. Showing that efforts have been made to reach reasonable negotiations on the issues before coming to court goes a long way as well.
- Having an attorney matters. While you may feel like you are well versed in Family Law and are capable of filing motions and representing yourself in court - without a lawyer, your chances are often nil. Family Law attorneys are not only familiar with case law and family court proceedings; they’re often familiar with how a particular judge may prefer to handle a case.