We all want to avoid mistakes if we can. Below is a list of common mistakes I have seen in divorce court that should be avoided. Take a moment and read this article to avoid some of the most common costly mistakes!
- Going to Court Without a Lawyer
While this may be easier said than done, having an experienced Raleigh divorce lawyer is a way to ensure your rights are protected. You may not know the rules of evidence and local court rules, which can prevent a judge from hearing key evidence in your case. Often times your divorce or custody case is heard by the same judge and you may not be able to undo the mistakes you make at trial later. First impressions are key and getting the judge as much information to help your case, or to avoid irrelevant and hurtful information, could make all of the difference in the world for your outcome.
- Not Meeting With Your Lawyer Before Your Hearing
The more prepared you are the better. Meeting with your North Carolina divorce lawyer before court is essential when preparing for your case. If you can’t come into the office at least have a phone call. Ask questions about the order of witnesses, what questions your lawyer will ask you in front of the judge, the case plan, and overall message you want to send to the judge (commonly known as a theme). Going into a courtroom without this information can severely damage your case. As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect, and you want your case to be as close to perfect as possible.
- Being on Time
Being on time for court is critical. If the Judge is late that is one thing, but if you are late you could do irreparable damage to your case. A judge will know you were late, which will create a poor first impression of how invested you are for your case. A judge could also dismiss your case for not showing up on time! Make sure that you check traffic times, ask your lawyer about parking, and leave extra early. I always tell clients to give a 20 minute cushion to be safe!
- Not Turning off Your Phone in Court
While it seems like a no-brainer, having your phone on in court is a huge mistake. It irritates the judge and the courtroom staff. Always check, and double check, that your phone is on silent or turned off before even walking into the courtroom.
- Interrupting the Judge
Even if you think you know what the judge will say, do not interrupt. If you do not agree with what the judge is saying, do not interrupt. If you think you know better than the judge, do not interrupt. See a common theme? Do not interrupt the judge. If you want to clarify something, let a judge finish, and then ask the judge respectfully to be heard—or even better let your lawyer do it (back to mistake number 1).
- Getting Angry or Having an Attitude
There may come a time, or several, when things are not going your way or when your ex says something infuriating. Do everything in your power to stay calm, cool, and collected. I always tell clients to being a picture of their children, a pet, something that makes them joyful or to remind them why they are in court. Keep your eye on the prize and stay focused. Judges are watching your every move or reaction to the evidence presented and you are always likely to catch more flies with honey than vinegar.