Are You Going to Family Court Here’s What to Expect

Heading to family court can be nerve-wracking, especially if you’ve never been before, and don’t know what to expect. Being as prepared as possible can help to calm your nerves and make things go as smoothly as possible.

We’re going to share some things you should know before going to family court as well as what to expect once you’re inside the courtroom.

Preparing for Family Court

Have Arguments Ready

Your lawyer will help to prepare your arguments to prove your case to the judge. Anything you can think of to help in this matter will only benefit your case. Think deeply about why you are in court and what you’re hoping to accomplish.

In a child custody case, some arguments you may want to prepare include whether you are a suitable guardian for your child and whether you can provide for your child’s needs.

Anticipate Questions and Answers

While you not only want to have your arguments ready to go, you also want to anticipate the answers to possible questions that may arise. This will prevent you from stumbling along the way and will show the judge that you take the proceedings seriously enough to come prepared.

Seek Out References

You want to seek out references who will either prepare letters on your behalf or testify on your behalf. These are people who will attest to your character and your parenting, if applicable.

Prepare a Financial Affidavit/Disclosure Statement

Depending on the reason why you’re going to family court, you’ll want to prepare a financial affidavit. This lets the court know your income, assets, and any liabilities you may have. You want to be sure the document is accurate because it will impact your case.

Dress the Part

You want to give the court a good impression. Be sure to dress appropriately. This gives the impression that you care about the case and realize how important it is. Showing up looking disheveled portrays the image that you don’t care about what’s at stake.

What to Expect at Family Court

Small Setting

Unlike criminal court, family court proceedings are usually done in smaller settings. The typical courtrooms for child custody proceedings are much more intimate, with very few people in the room.

A Limited Time Frame

There’s a strong chance that your family court case won’t last very long because the judge needs to hear multiple cases in one day. This is typically true when it comes to child custody cases. This is why you want to be as prepared as possible so that you can present your best arguments in the time that you do have.

Multiple Testimonies

If you are in family court for a child custody proceeding, expect multiple testimonies. This can include parents, the child, and any witnesses such as school officials are caregivers.

Stand Before the Judge

When your case is called, you will come up and stand before the judge. The judge will likely have you take an oath stating that you will tell the court the truth. Be sure to speak clearly and loudly enough for everyone to hear you. You should always make eye contact with the court and keep composed during the proceedings.

Don’t Address the Court Unless Asked

Some people get the urge to say things to the Court, even when no one asks them a question. Resist the urge to do this because these types of comments can hurt your case. Before making any comments, run them past your attorney. Your attorney will let you know if they are appropriate or if you should avoid saying them.

Don’t Always Expect an Immediate Ruling

Depending on the type of case and the testimony, the judge may or may not rule quickly. While some issues are quickly resolved, others take more time. It’s important to be patient and wait for the judge to make their ruling. If you don’t agree with it, there may be a chance to appeal.

The Bottom Line

If you have a family court date in the future, you want to be prepared. This means having arguments ready and any documents you may need. You should also dress the part and seek out references when needed.

Once you arrive at court, be ready to present your case promptly in a small setting. Multiple people may testify and you will be asked to stand before the judge. Also, realize that the judge may or may not rule quickly, depending on the circumstances surrounding your case. Remember to stay calm during the proceedings because acting out will only hurt your case.