How To Handle A Family Court Case Competently

Going to family court can feel especially difficult, even compared to other forms of legal proceedings. It's important to bring the right approach to the situation. Work from this checklist to ensure you'll present your arguments well.

Avoid Emotional Outbursts

Family matters often bring out the worst in people. It can be hard to listen to someone say, for example, that you haven't treated your child well. However, you can't afford to have major emotional outbursts.

Fortunately, most family court judges understand how tense these proceedings can be. If you feel you need some time to compose yourself, you can usually ask for a brief recess. Take a breath and then focus on the situation.

Retain Counsel

One of the best ways to avoid becoming emotional in court is to hire a family law attorney. They can field many of the expected questions. Likewise, they can be a buffer if someone from the other side tries to contact you before the proceedings.

Don't be afraid to lean on your lawyer if you need some distance from what's happening. If necessary, you can have counsel appear in your stead at lesser proceedings if you have work or other things to deal with.

Understand the System

Very few family court cases blow up into full-on trials. The vast majority of the family court's work occurs in conferences and hearings. Oftentimes, the judge sends a court-appointed officer to meet with the two sides and assess the situation. The court's officer is usually either a social worker or family law attorney by trade. If the parties need the judge, such as to enter an order, the court can schedule a hearing.

The Judge Rules the Court

This is true in all settings, but it strongly applies in family law proceedings. It's the power of the judge that allows appointed officers to do their work. Likewise, a high percentage of family law rulings involve orders directly from judges regarding everything from living arrangements to protective orders. It's wise to respect the judge because they have a lot of power in family court.

Be Prepared

Have your paperwork together. If the court needs to see proof of income, for example, dig the papers out early and make copies. Work with your family law attorney to make sure you show up for court prepared. It's no guarantee the judge will favor your side, but you don't want to be the person who has upset the court.

Contact a family law attorney for more information.