Everyone wants to be heard when they go to court.
Tip #1, don't act like the little girl in the photo. Not very effective.
When you're involved in a contested divorced and you don't have an attorney representing you and speaking on your behalf, one of the most important times of your case is when you stand before your judge and have the opportunity to speak.
Most people get extremely nervous when they go to court.
I don't blame them. It's an overwhelming environment if you're not used to it. And if you are representing yourself, it's even more overpowering.
Add to that the fact that your spouse may have an attorney, then it's like @!#%#$@!
When you go to court, you are there for a specific reason.
It may be a case management conference.
It may be for oral argument on a motion.
It may be for trial.
Appearing in court.
For many people representing themselves, they see every opportunity to get in front of the judge as the chance recite their entire relationship history and insult their soon to be ex spouse.
I don't recommend this.
As a self represented litigant, you have to always remember that the court treats a divorce like a business transaction. The judge is not interested in your emotional baggage or the fact that your spouse may be a narcissist.
The court is not a therapist.
The judge is there to take care of the business at hand. Let's say it's oral argument for a motion. Assume you filed a motion for financial support from your spouse during the divorce process.
If the court schedules oral argument, you are there for the sole and specific purpose of talking about the issues in the motion.
Nothing more, nothing less.
If your spouse chooses to go off on some tangent, let him/her do so. Don't you do it!
Judges have a lot of cases to handle and yours is just one on a long list. To get the most out of your hearing and make the best impression, you want to do one thing.
Ready? Here is that one thing...
Listen, listen listen.
Judges are lawyers. Most lawyers enjoy hearing themselves talk. (I'm not one of them and this is not a blanket statement, but it seems to be a Type-A personality thing).
Listen to the judge when he/she speaks. Often, they will give you hints as to their mindset on a particular issue and how they are leaning toward deciding it. If you pick up on it and you think well on your feet, you can adjust your argument to address the judge's concerns.
More importantly, listening means you're not talking and sometimes that's a good thing when you're in court. When you don't have an attorney, talking often leads to trouble.
It's just a matter of time before you will stick your foot in your mouth. Trust me.
When you do talk, you want to have a point and make it quickly. Judges loathe people who ramble on and on and often will shut you down if you do.
Another tip; talk without emotion.
This is hard because it's your life and you live in it every day, but if you start crying while you talk, it just makes it more difficult for the judge to understand what you're trying to say and drags out the proceedings.
Interruption will get you nowhere.
When you are before the judge, it won't always go your way. A divorce is like a roller coaster, you will have your ups and downs. That's just the way it is.
The key is that when things aren't going your way that you don't interrupt the judge and turn him/him against you. If there's one thing judge's hate it's when they get interrupted. Doesn't matter if you're an attorney or representing yourself.
They don't like it.
So, don't do it. Let the other side interrupt.
If the judge follows procedure, you will get your chance to speak during the proceeding. Just wait your turn.
If your spouse is saying things that aren't true, take notes so you don't forget them, but wait for your opportunity to speak and then you can rebut any allegations.
My point is that the best way to get the judge on your side is not to piss him/her off. Don't annoy them and always act with dignity and professionalism.
Sometimes it's hard, no doubt, especially when you're living the facts, but it's imperative that you maintain your composure... at all times.
Judges are people too.
At the end of the day, it's all about people skills. Judges are people too and they react, both good and bad, to situations just like everyone else. They are supposed to be impartial and objective, but they are human. Emotions are inevitable.
Use your people skills to schmooze your divorce judge.
Figure out what they like and don't like and use this to your advantage.
It's not rocket science really, it's just people being people. If a judge can relate to you on any level, you fare a better chance when you appear before them in court.
That's not to say that you will get everything you want all the time, but if you get on the judge's bad side, this will be very hard to undo and could follow you throughout the entire divorce process.
Jason a/k/a The Divorce Resource Guy coaches people who can't afford an attorney how to get through their divorce. Learn more about the divorce process and what you need to know before you get overwhelmed or have to go to court at www.jasonlevoy.com