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How to Prepare for Your Court Appearance April 8, 2014

Midtown East, Manhattan
How to Prepare for Your Court Appearance, Manhattan, New York

Divorce and family law cases are stressful events, especially if your case can not be settled prior to your first court appearance. While there are no jurors in the court room during divorce and family law proceedings, you will still need to appear in front of a judge or magistrate. This can be an incredibly nerve wracking experience if you have never set foot inside a court room before.

Whether your appearance is in Supreme Court or Family Court, there is a certain code of conduct one must follow while their case is being heard before a judge. The attorneys at Brian D. Perskin & Associates have tried sensitive matrimonial and family matters in front of judges throughout the five boroughs and Long Island, and they have compiled a set of tips to help you feel more comfortable and relaxed in the court room.

Communicate with your attorney. 

Hopefully you interviewed different attorneys before retaining, so you probably feel comfortable with whoever you hired. Since you pay your lawyer, he or she technically works for you. If you have questions, concerns, or would simply like to discuss what to expect during your court appearance, call the law firm and schedule a time to speak with your attorney. You deserve this!


If you are further along in your case, and you completed your pretrial appearances months ago, then chances are that you will be questioned by your attorney, the opposing counsel, or even the judge. Your lawyer will help you with trial preparation, but is recommended that you practice answering questions on your own. While some points or interest may seem like no brainers, the anxiety and stress of being questioned in open court can be overwhelming. By approaching preparing for questioning much like you would studying for an exam in school (by reviewing facts and answers), you are more likely to not stumble over your words or accidentally answer a question incorrectly.

Look presentable. 

Making a good first impression is very important. How you present yourself says a lot. While a judge or magistrate can't (and won't) rule a certain way based on how the parties are dressed, making sure you're dressed nicely and are well groomed shows respect for the judge and his or her court room. When in doubt, always go conservative.

Be respectful. 

Smile. Say please and thank you. Hold the elevator door open for someone who is walking behind you. Acting respectful and portraying a positive attitude may help to calm some of your nerves. And on another note, make sure you only address the judge as "sir", "ma'am" or "your honor". This is a common practice in the court room, and such behavior is expected from each party and their attorneys.

Only speak when spoken to. 

It’s very important to not speak out of turn while in the court room. Judges have come to expect that plaintiffs and defendants follow a code of conduct while in their presence, and talking back to the judge or arguing with the opposing party will not be tolerated. Furthermore, you should refrain from making snide comments under your breath or getting an attitude if you do not agree with a comment your spouse or the judge has made.

Appearing before a judge does not have to be stressful, even if your matrimonial or family law case is. The staff at Brian D. Perskin & Associates has years of experience presiding over cases in New York City and Long Island, and have helped their clients succeed in the court room. Let their knowledge benefit you by scheduling your complimentary andconfidential consultation today!