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Courtroom etiquette during divorce proceedings

The courtroom is a formal place. What you wear and do while in court can reflect on you and may even affect the outcome of your case. Now is not the time to wear casual clothing or yell at your spouse.

While most of what we will say in this blog is common sense, many people fail to follow these simple rules. Some people scoff at formality, but they must remember that their Minnesota divorce case is more important than their personal feelings about the courtroom or judge.

What should you wear?

Dress your best. The courtroom is a formal place worthy of nice, conservative attire.

Men: If possible, men should wear a suit. If not possible, then wear slacks, a nice shirt and dress shoes. Do not wear: hats, sunglasses, strong cologne or excessive jewelry.

Women: A conservative dress, suit or long skirt and blouse combination is appropriate. Women should wear nylons/tights and nice shoes. Do not wear: strong perfume, excessive jewelry, sandals or vibrant nail color.

What to do in the courtroom

The courtroom has its own code of conduct. For example, you must stand up when the judge enters the room. If the judge asks you to bring him or her something, you must hand it to the clerk. You should address everyone in court by their formal titles. When you speak to the judge, always say, "Your Honor."

Do not:

  • Be late. Courts keep to a tight schedule.
  • Chew gum.
  • Swear or use slang.
  • Eat or drink in the courtroom.
  • Talk or text on your phone. Instead, turn your cell phone off.
  • Talk out of turn.
  • Leave the courtroom until you are excused.
  • Slouch. Instead, sit up straight and appear attentive.

Finally, your divorce lawyer is there to present your case and fight for your best interests. That is why it is wise to let your divorce lawyer do the talking for you and only speak to answer the judge's questions.

Taking these small steps can go a long way to build your credibility with the judge. This, in turn, can help your case.

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