When you are involved in a divorce or a legal proceeding related to your children, it is usually best to negotiate a solution with the other party whenever possible. At some point in the process, though, you will almost certainly be required to appear in court, even if it is little more than a formality. For those who have never experienced it, entering a courtroom and appearing before a judge can be stressful and nerve-wracking, especially if the outcome of your divorce or other matter hangs in the balance. There are a few things that you can do, however, to alleviate your stress and to maintain control over your situation.
Be Fully Prepared in Advance
As you and your attorney prepare your case, you should make every effort to be ready well ahead of time. Do not wait until the day before your appearance to discuss not only the plan for presenting your case, but also the rules of courtroom procedure. Chances are good that your attorney will do most of the talking, but you still need to know where to be and when, how to address the court if needed, and what you should and should not say.
Read All Instructions
You will need to review carefully any and all documentation sent to you by the court, either by direct mail or through your lawyer. Depending upon the nature of your case, these documents may include specific instructions regarding your appearance, required witnesses, the presence of your children, and other concerns. If you have questions about anything contained in such documentation, discuss them with your lawyer long before your court date.
Be Early and Use the Time Wisely
Under no circumstances would you want to be late for your scheduled appearance in court. If you need to do so, familiarize yourself with the area around the courthouse so you will know where to park, how much it will cost, and how long it will take to get there. Make a plan with your attorney to arrive early on the day of your hearing or trial. You can use the time to go over any last-minute details or adjustments to your strategy. The moments before your appearance can be important for another reason also; they are often the setting for last-minute settlements, preventing an unnecessary courtroom battle.
Leave Bitter Emotions at Home
Of course, any matter of family law is going to be intensely personal. You want what is best for your future and that of your children, and you are willing to fight for it. The court, however, is not interested in how angry or hurt you may be, so it is important not to allow your emotions to cloud the issues. Speak reasonably and remain civil with the other party. Angry outbursts and insults will not help your case, and may, in fact, make you look worse.
Work With a Dedicated Attorney
If you are in the midst of a divorce or child-related legal matter, having the right lawyer by your side can make a world of difference. At Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C., we understand how to help you build your case as well as in preparing for your appearance in court. Contact one of our experienced Kane County family law attorneys today by calling 630-377-7770 to schedule your free initial consultation.