Court Room Etiquette

Court Room Etiquette

If you or someone you know is going to go to family court, here are a few tips on how to behave.

Going to Family Law court can be incredibly stressful, emotional and nerve-wrecking. It seems like the place where everyone’s dirty sheets come out of the closet and are put on display for the world to see. At times like these, people tend to forget that family law court is a professional place and begin to show their emotions and true colors.  

1) The clothes make the man: We all have heard the phrase “the clothes make the man” this holds true in most areas. In court, especially family law court, dressing appropriately is crucial. The courts demand respect, and this also applies to your manner of dress. DO NOT go to court in shorts, tank tops, halter tops, flip-flops, athletic jerseys or even jeans. When you go to court, you should not look like you are going to the local grocery store or going to walk your dog in the park. You need to look professional and respectful. No one is going to take you seriously if you stroll into court with holes in your pants or with your pants down to your knees. The judge won’t like it, and you don’t want the judge to dislike you right off the bat. It’s not wise. Also, if you do come dressed inappropriately, the bailiff might ask you to leave the courtroom. It is in your best interest to dress appropriately for court.

2) Punctuality: BE ON TIME!!! This is crucial. There is nothing more irritating for a judge than to see that a person is late. This is not just in family court, but in all courts. If you are one of those people who can’t seem to make it anywhere on time, then lie to yourself and convince yourself that your court time is 30 minutes earlier. This will work in your favor. People expect you to act like a responsible adult at court. Responsible adults show up on time. Now, we know that things do come up (car trouble, illness, emergencies). If this occurs, call your attorney and let them know ASAP. It would also be wise for you to call the courtroom and let them know that you will be late and give them an estimated time of arrival. This will make you look more responsible and professional. 

3) Keeping Control: As mentioned above, family law court is very emotional. It can be difficult not to express these emotions in the court room. There are many times where people will give their opinions which will cause a stir within others. If you are in one of those situations, keep your composure. This not only pertains to the parties in court, but also to your family members that go with you to court. If the opposing party is speaking and you disagree with what was said, speak with your attorney. If you don’t have an attorney, then quietly raise your hand, or wait for the opposing side to stop speaking, then raise your hand. You should keep a pad of paper and a pen with you to make notes of things that you want to bring up, but do not just start shouting. First of all, the judge is listening to the opposing party. You will have your turn to speak. If you interrupt the opposing party, you look immature, rude and unprofessional and you break the judge’s concentration. If you have family members in the audience, please tell to be on your best behavior. They should not be excessively shaking their heads, sighing, tisking or making any other obnoxious sounds of disapproval. This also goes for the parties in court. These displays of emotion are disrespectful, disruptive and rude. The judge will not approve of such behavior in the courtroom. Also, if you are constantly coughing or sneezing, excuse yourself and step out. Now, the judge knows that this is an emotional situation. You are not expected to sit like a statue in court and show no emotion. You can express your emotions; just don’t interrupt the flow of court with them.

Family Law court is a professional place and while you are there, you are expected to behave professionally. If you were unsure about how to act in court, these tips should help you. To show the court you are a responsible and mature adult, you need to show appropriate behavior in court. These tips will help you achieve that. 

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