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Preparing for a Temporary Orders Hearing in Texas, Part Three

If you haven’t read the previous two installments in our series on preparing for a Temporary Orders hearing, it’s worth considering going back to read them. While not essential, the information in those posts is relevant if you’re in a Texas divorce or child custody case. In part three, we’ll discuss in-courtroom behavior details, including attire, communication, and general conduct. Understanding how to dress for divorce mediation in Texas and in a courtroom can significantly affect the outcome of your case.

The importance of first impressions

In the event that you and your spouse are not able to settle on the relevant issues of your case, the next step would be to take your disputes to the courtroom and have a judge play tie breaker. This is an unsettling prospect for most people as they have (hopefully) never been inside a courtroom before.

We have clients whose friends, neighbors, cousins, etc. have told them horror stories about their own divorce and how the judge treated them which causes a great deal of anxiety. The truth with going to court is that, while first impressions are important, it is rare to leave a courtroom with a true horror story to tell later on.

In case you and your spouse opted for mediation and wondering how to dress for divorce mediation in Texas, it’s safe to follow what’s advisable to wear in a courtroom.

What to wear in a courtroom

At the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, our attorneys advise a fairly modest, conservative style of dress when appeared before a judge. For women, this means dressing in clothes that you would feel comfortable wearing to church or to lunch with your grandmother. A dark colored dress that is not too short is desirable. Flashy jewelry and overly-done makeup is typically not appropriate in the courtroom.

For men, if you own a suit I would recommend you wear it. Even if you are as a casual sort of guy whose job doesn’t require getting dressed up, dust off that suit and put it on the morning of your hearing. At the very least it is recommended that you wear a tie.

I am not saying that any judge in southeast Texas mandates that you drive to your local mall and spend $1,000 on a suit. What I am saying is that appearances matter in this context.

Appearances matter because the judge will be assessing your ability to manage finances and children in a temporary orders hearing. Like it or not, judges form biases and opinions like all of us do. How you dress can contribute positively or negatively to your image. In the eyes of the judge, this would likely matter. Remember that image is important even when considering how to dress for divorce mediation in Texas.

Tips on your in-court demeanor

When I talk to a client right before their court testimony, I acknowledge that I can’t entirely eliminate their nerves. As an attorney, my role is to guide their focus toward the crucial aspects of their case. Feeling a bit anxious before testifying in front of a judge is normal. However, there are specific behaviors I strongly advise clients to avoid before their court appearance.

For instance, never take any sort of drugs, medicines or consume alcohol prior to arriving at the courthouse. You may feel initially like you’ve been successful at taking the edge off. In reality, though, your mouth and your mind will begin to move at different speeds making coherent testimony nearly impossible. If you believe that you will feel unfamiliar or uncomfortable in the courtroom, you are probably right. However, your feeling of discomfort will be multiplied by a factor of 1,000 if you consume drugs or alcohol beforehand. Just don’t do it.

Perception is Important when in Court

How you conduct yourself, from the second your foot hits the pavement outside the courtroom prior to your hearing to the moment you drive away from the courthouse after your hearing is complete, is critical to your chances of success in the actual hearing. The same goes in how to dress for divorce mediation in Texas. Taking a reserved, respectful, and courteous approach to your time in court is the recommended path to take in this regard.

If you are the type of person who is quick to laugh, or quick to raise your voice, take some time before you enter the courtroom to temper your emotions. While you may think your personality and appearance is harmless, judges form opinions of you based on how you act in their courtroom as well as on what you say when on the witness stand. Don’t take the chance that your actions in court could be misinterpreted. Self awareness is an important aspect of being an adult. In no place is this more true than a courtroom.

How to conduct yourself in regard to a jury

Family law cases are usually held in front of judges, not juries. That being said there are instances where a jury may be the decider of your case or at least certain issues in your case. The best rule of thumb from my experience is, if you come into contact with a juror outside the courtroom, to be courteous but to decline conversation. Any party to a legal case who is perceived to have had contact with a juror without the knowledge of the other party or court stands to face stiff penalties for doing so.

At a past work location of mine, our office had a trial set to begin one morning at the courthouse. A junior attorney came along that day to assist the senior attorney with presenting our client’s case. This junior attorney was a nice guy but he was a talkative fellow.

He entered the men’s room and started talking to another man about the upcoming trial. Unbeknownst to him, the man was a juror in the case. The juror later reported this conversation to the court staff, which displeased the judge.

Although there were no penalties for our client, there could have been. I share this anecdote to caution against unnecessary conversations or interactions in the courtroom, hallways, or even restrooms. Don’t feel obligated to engage in small talk; treat your court visit as a business matter, even if it involves discussing your family.

Free consultations with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC

To learn more about the Houston divorce attorneys, staff and services offered by the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC please do not hesitate to contact our office today. We will return with another blog post on Temporary Orders hearings in the near future as well.

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  1. Preparing for a Temporary Orders Hearing in Texas, Part One
  2. Preparing for a Temporary Orders Hearing in Texas, Part Two
  3. Do I need Temporary Orders in my Texas Divorce?
  4. Temporary Orders and Temporary Restraining Orders in Texas
  5. Getting Ready for a Hearing On Temporary Custody Orders
  6. The Divorce Temporary Orders Guide
  7. Temporary Orders and Temporary Restraining Orders in Texas
  8. What Wikipedia Can’t Tell you About Texas Divorce and Marital Property Division
  9. Texas Divorce Property Division Enforcement
  10. Separate Property in a Texas Divorce?

Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston, Texas Divorce Lawyers

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it’s important to speak with one of our Houston, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.

Our divorce lawyers in Houston TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles Divorce cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.

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At the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, the firm wants to get to know your case before they commit to work with you. They offer all potential clients a no-obligation, free consultation where you can discuss your case under the client-attorney privilege. This means that everything you say will be kept private and the firm will respectfully advise you at no charge. You can learn more about Texas divorce law and get a good idea of how you want to proceed with your case.

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