Conducting Yourself Well Inside and Outside the Courtroom Is Essential to Having a Successful Divorce

In yesterday鈥檚 blog post from the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, we introduced the topic of how to speak and act inside the courthouse. It is not a sure thing that you will be attending a hearing in your divorce case. Most courts will require that you mediate your case at least once before heading to court for a contested hearing or trial and this requirement significantly reduces the number of spouses who have to go to court. However, since there is still a possibility that you will need to attend court I wanted to take a day to focus on this subject, specifically on how to stay calm when testifying in court.

Today we will put a bow on courtroom decorum and then will expand our discussion into how to conduct yourself outside of court in the time period leading up to the end of your divorce. Even after settling your case, your divorce isn鈥檛 officially complete, and circumstances can change as a result.聽Before we delve into how your habits can affect the end of your divorce let鈥檚 wrap up yesterday鈥檚 conversation regarding courtroom behavior.

Remain calm when in court, no matter what

It鈥檚 tempting and easy to lose composure when things don鈥檛 go your way in court. For instance, if your spouse starts lying during testimony, even subtly, it might be tempting to label them as such to your attorney. However, it鈥檚 not appropriate to do so.

Often, I provide my clients with a legal pad to jot down their thoughts or pass me notes if something significant arises. It鈥檚 crucial to track your thoughts and share them with your attorney. Outbursts, regardless of their justification, won鈥檛 benefit your case. Instead, let your attorney handle the situation. They can use any lies your spouse tells during cross-examination effectively. Trust your attorney to address these matters appropriately and refrain from taking matters into your own hands.

Another instance where it鈥檚 easy to lose your composure is when you鈥檙e on the witness stand. Attorneys excel at potentially provoking emotional reactions from the opposing party during testimony. Their objective is not only to elicit admissions you may prefer to avoid but also to make you appear foolish in the process. They鈥檒l attempt anything to undermine your credibility in front of the judge. Remember, it鈥檚 not personal; it鈥檚 just business, as they say.

If the opposing attorney asks questions that may provoke you, remember that your demeanor and presentation are just as crucial as your words. Stay composed, remain still, and be respectful. Rest assured, the judge recognizes the pressure you鈥檙e under. Demonstrating composure in response to challenging questions will help cultivate a positive impression of yourself in the judge鈥檚 mind.

Show courtesy to all members of the courtroom staff- not just the judge

If you are at a restaurant I鈥檓 willing to bet that you speak nicely to your server, the busboy and the hostess. You probably look at them in the eye, smile and thank you when appropriate. These are the sort of things that our parents told us to do growing up and have become second nature to us now. My advice would be to apply those same skills to the people that you will be interacting within the courthouse.

From the other attorney to your spouse, the bailiff, court reporter, and the court鈥檚 clerk, you will find yourself coming into contact with more people than just a judge. These folks are not the fact finder in your case but they work directly with the fact finder. Showing respect to these folks would tell me that you are more likely to show respect to the judge. Do not get the mistaken impression that the other people in the courthouse are appropriate outlets for your frustration. Speak calmly and politely to these people and you will be in good shape.

Moving on to stage two of your life post-divorce- Patience is key

If the cause of your divorce was infidelity then you will want to pay special attention to this section. For starters, just because your spouse has cheated on you does not mean that you can go ahead and do the same. This is especially true when you have children. A judge can be very harsh to both you and your spouse if he finds out that there has been infidelity in or around the home when children are present. Even if you think what you are doing is harmless and will not impact your children my advice would be to avoid this behavior at all costs.

Navigating Relationships During Divorce Proceedings

The simple truth is that even though you emotionally feel like you and your spouse are no longer together and are now ready to move on to date other people, the law says that you and your spouse are still married until the judge formally signs your Final Decree of Divorce. This means that for as long as your divorce lasts you are still married. Relationships with anyone but your spouse are therefore by definition extra-marital and not allowed.

You may feel the need to confide in another person due to the stresses that your divorce case has put you under. I understand that completely. However, you have a lot of people in your life that can fulfill this role. A paramour is not one of them. Friends, family, your attorney, your paralegal, your pastor, your waitress, your tailor, your trainer- all of these people are better confidants about your divorce than a significant other.

Avoid Moving a New Partner In During Proceedings

Here鈥檚 something that may seem obvious to most of you reading this blog but may not be so apparent to others. By all means, if you are having an affair do not move that person into your home while the divorce lawsuit is still ongoing. Even if your spouse moves out of the house, do not immediately phone your girlfriend and let her know that the coast is clear to pack up her stuff. The coast certainly is not clear, first of all. Second of all- if you have children still living in the home this will create a very awkward and unhealthy living arrangement for the children. Your case will suffer for your having been too eager to move on to the next phase in your life.

Speaking of your kids- your new romantic partner should not cross paths with your children until your divorce is done and over with. That means that you have finalized your case, signed the Final Decree of Divorce and the judge has signed off on it. At that point, it is up to you how you want to handle introductions. Before then, however, it is not a good idea to make formal introductions or to ever have that person in your home with you and the kids.

If you are having an affair tell your attorney

With all of that said, if you are having an affair you need to tell your attorney. There is nothing worse for your case than to assume that nobody is aware of the affair only to be confronted with evidence on the day of a trial or hearing. While this information will not benefit your case, your attorney can take steps towards minimizing the impact of the evidence of your affair. I鈥檓 not going to tell you that it鈥檚 not embarrassing or not pleasant to have to fess up about your affair but it beats being surprised with evidence on the day of your hearing.

The divorce is going to be over- don鈥檛 get ahead of yourself

I know that it can seem like it is taking forever for your divorce to become final. At the very shortest, your divorce will take two months to complete. With this in mind, the months in between filing the Petition for Divorce and signing the Final Decree of Divorce can seem to take forever. All you are thinking about in the meantime is the money being spent on your lawyer, the time away from your family and work, as well as the possibilities that are in store for you in your post-divorce relationships.

The purpose of the divorce taking at a minimum two months to complete is that the State of Texas wants to make sure that you have actually thought about the consequences of your divorce and are sure that you want to move forward. You may be surprised to find out that many people who enter into a divorce have changes of heart midway through the process. Obviously, the State does not want you to get a divorce unless you are sure that is what is best for you and your family. The sixty day waiting period allows you and your spouse to 鈥渃ool off鈥 and make a decision without having emotions control that decision making process.

The more disagreeable you (and your spouse) are, the longer your case will take

Disagreements between parties are the primary reason divorces are prolonged, resulting in wasted time and money. If every issue becomes a battleground, your divorce will be significantly delayed and costly. Consider the financial implications: the fees paid to your attorney for prolonged disputes can impact your post-divorce finances. Instead of squabbling over minor details like silverware or pet custody, opting for a reasonable settlement can expedite the process and allow you to move forward with your life.

The bottom line is that in your divorce it is unrealistic to expect that you will be able to get everything that you want. Divorce is not bludgeoning your spouse and vice versa with your words, attorneys or evidence. Certainly, evidence is handy in a divorce to reinforce your case. Your attorney will play a major role in determining the outcome of your case as well. Movies and television have shaped our belief that divorces involve courtroom trials where all of your personal matters are aired, and drama fills the courtroom.聽After reading our blog for the past week do you still think this is reality?

The truth of the matter is that you will likely settle your case in mediation. This means that negotiation is the name of the game. Prepare to relinquish some desires while also gaining unexpected victories.聽That is the true nature of divorce- if you walk away feeling like you did ok but could have done better I would tell you that your spouse likely feels the same. Make that your ex-spouse, because at this stage your divorce is finally complete.

Questions about divorce or any other issue in Texas family law? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

If you have read today鈥檚 blog and have questions about its contents please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys are available six days a week to discuss your case and go over any questions that you may have. Consultations are free of charge and can help you a great deal to plan for any circumstances that you and your family are facing.


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Frequently Asked Questions about Testifying in Court

Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Kingwood Divorce Lawyer

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding聽divorce, it鈥檚 important to speak with ar聽Kingwood, TX聽Divorce Lawyer聽right away to protect your rights.

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

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