The Do's and Don'ts of Courtroom Conduct: What to Know Before Your Hearing
Senior Judge, Deanne Darling, discusses courtroom etiquette that everybody is expected to adhere to during their family law hearing.
You should be aware of your court etiquette from the moment you leave your house, to the moment you return. This includes your behavior in the parking lot, in the lobby, how you treat the courtroom staff, within the courtroom, and so on.
The most important thing to remember when deciding how to dress is that the Judge will be looking for clean, respectable, and an honest representation of who you are. You do not need to purchase outfits that you will never wear again, but treat your hearing like a job interview—practice good hygiene, dress in a respectable manner, and avoid anything that might serve as a distraction, such as heavy jewelry, nail colors, audible shoes such as flip-flops, unprofessional t-shirts, heavily exposed tattoos, chewing gum, etc. Avoid wearing any sort of hat if possible, but if you must for health, religious or cultural purposes, avoid hats with bills that could cover your face.
When addressing the Judge, refer to them as Your Honor. Never approach the well without permission, and try to avoid distracting behaviors, such as being overly fidgety, clicking a pen, etc. It’s okay to express emotions appropriately, but try your best to maintain control—it’s okay to ask for a short break if you need a moment to compose yourself.
When inviting guests to attend a hearing, consider the message they might convey to the judge, and how it will better your case. Inviting support is okay, but they should understand the rules and expectations of the court, and not serve as a distraction. As a general rule of thumb, children should not be brought to court hearings.
If a restroom break is needed, or you need to consult with your attorney or support network, it is okay to ask the Judge for a short recess.
If you would like to speak with one of our family law attorneys regarding your unique family law matter, please call our office at (503) 227-0200 or visit our website at https://www.landerholmlaw.com/ to schedule a free consultation.