Hello, my name is Anna Troitschanski and I am an associate at Feldstein Family Law Group. Today, I will be discussing some tips with you about court protocol when you have an upcoming court date.
Before coming to court:
- I often tell clients not to book anything else on the day of their court matter as there is no guarantee that your matter will be heard on time, even if it starts at 9:30 or 10:00 a.m. There are often delays and there is always the possibility that you and your spouse may be able to discuss and resolve the issues at court, which could take all day. Therefore, do not book other appointments on the same day as your court date. You will not be able to leave to tend to other engagements.
- Make sure your written court materials are well-drafted and concise, and submitted on time. If you are represented by a lawyer, they will draft, serve and file the materials for you. The judge forms his or her first impression of you and / or your counsel by reading your court materials in advance of the court appearance.
- It is not a good idea to bring your children to court, especially young children. Having the children attend court with one party will not only upset the children but it may also upset the judge as you may be subjecting the children to further conflict and confrontation. As well, your matter is not the only matter being heard that day, and your kids may be subjected to other parties’ conflict. Remember to make child care arrangements that allow for delays.
- Dress appropriately for court. This does not mean that you need to wear formal attire, however, do not show up in a t-shirt and shorts. Dress respectfully and modestly.
- Always ensure that you are on time for your court matter. This will give you the opportunity to have any last minute discussions with your lawyer and to ask any questions that you thought about the night before.
While at court:
- When court is in session, do not speak unless the judge poses a question to you directly. Judges do not like to be interrupted nor do they appreciate when a party and / or their counsel interrupts another person. Everyone will have the opportunity to speak, therefore it is best to wait your turn and let your lawyer do the talking for you. After all, that is why you have a lawyer.
- If you need to communicate something to your lawyer while court is in session, write a message to your lawyer on a piece of paper. You may not know that the microphones at court pick up everything, including conversations between clients and their counsel at the counsel table.
- Do not use your cell phone while you are in the courtroom. Your phone must be turned off while you are in court. Do not play with your phone, send text messages or answer your phone. This is extremely disrespectful. You are not permitted to audio or video record the conversations that take place in the court room on your cell phone or any other electronic device.
- Lastly, while we appreciate that court is very stressful, do not let your emotions get the best of you. Do not swear or yell in the courthouse or in the courtroom. Pay attention to your body language too. Judges don’t like to see the parties or their counsel rolling their eyes or shaking their heads. Respect the other party, respect his or her lawyer, and respect the court process. Decorum is very important at court.
For more information regarding the court process, please visit www.separation.ca or call us for an initial consultation at 905-581-7222. Thank you for watching and I’ll see you next time!