Should your divorce process lead you to the courthouse, you’ll probably find yourself out front clicking your heels and chanting, “There’s no place like home.” You may walk through that corridor with terror on your face, sighing, “Lions and tigers and bears, oh my.” And, too often, the courtroom itself becomes a battleground with war cries of “I’ll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too!” Divorce trials can be extremely trying — both emotionally and financially. You’ll do better if you follow these tips like they’re your yellow brick road:
Know Your Strategy
This isn’t the set of “Days of Our Lives” and you can’t just show up, look over your script and hit the stage. You should have a clear understanding of your team’s legal strategy well before entering the courtroom. Define your expectations and create the most sound legal strategy to make it happen. Be realistic and confident. Don’t let lawyers or anyone else strong-arm you into accepting an unfair settlement.
Dress the Part
Your lawyers and your legal case are trying to present you positively as the supportive partner who has been scorned, the responsible parent and/or the hardworking professional. Make sure you dress the part. Try and look classy and well put together without being flashy. And never wear clothes that are revealing or risqué.
Check Your Emotions at the Door
A settlement will be awarded, but no Academy Awards will be given. So save the drama for another day. Think of your trial as a very complicated business meeting: This isn’t the time or the place to get too emotional. Lashing out or breaking down is most likely not going to help your case. A responsible person will have a clear understanding of his or her legal strategy entering the trial and will focus on presenting the case, not using it as a forum for belittling or accusing a former partner.
Bring Your Cheerleading Squad
Courtrooms can be a cold place. Bringing friends and family to the trial is a good way to soften up the room. They usually aren’t active participants in the proceedings, but their presence and the comfort of being able to look at a friendly face can make even the most chilling of environments seem more bearable.