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Tips for court: conducting yourself correctly

Conducting yourself in the right manner during your divorce trial is important. Not doing so can get you in trouble and even make a judge less likely to want to rule in your favor. Fortunately, there are a few tips you can follow to conduct yourself correctly, keeping you on the good side of the law.

First, dress appropriately. You shouldn't wear T-shirts, shorts, or other casual clothing to court if it can be helped. You want to dress in a way that shows respect; a suit, dress, or other business clothing would be suitable. Remember not to chew gum, either, as this is considered disrespectful.

Don't interrupt the judge or attorneys. Don't argue in front of the judge or start a discussion; you should only speak when spoken to, and you should be direct when you answer. Whenever you're speaking, you should stand. Remember, your court proceedings are being recorded, so you should make sure you're heard correctly to save yourself trouble if there is a misunderstanding later.

Being on time is vital for your day in court. Missing a hearing can end up costing you more than just time; the judge can make orders without you there, and those orders could seriously affect you. For instance, if you're fighting over child custody and you fail to show up in court, the judge could rule in the other party's favor. This is one important rule of your court dates you'll need to make sure you don't violate, because it can have serious consequences for your life now and in the future.

Source: Massachusetts Court System, "Going to Court," accessed Aug. 17, 2015

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