Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “Do I need an attorney to get a Divorce in North Carolina?”
Going to court can be a scary thing, even when you haven’t done anything wrong. The formal setting, the judge, the lawyers, all of that can lead to stress among those facing a divorce court appearance. People often fear saying or doing the wrong thing and waste unnecessary energy worrying about something that isn’t deserving of the anxiety. To find out some tips for how to conduct yourself in court and hopefully save stress for things that matter, keep reading.
Bethenny Frankel, one of the Real Housewives of New York, recently gave an interview where she talked about her painful divorce case and how much the thought of appearing in court caused her anxiety. She said she was terrified of appearing before a judge, something that would cause her tremendous worry before and after. Though this is a common experience, people should understand that it doesn’t have to be this way. If you can keep a few things in mind, you will usually be just fine.
The first bit of advice, courtesy of the Huffington Post, is to dress for success. Though society has become much more casual in recent years, court is one of the few places that still necessitate a bit of formality. It’s important to make the right impression with the judge and showing up looking a mess will not help do that. You don’t need to wear a tux or a ball gown, just something professional. Make sure your clothes are clean and neat, make sure your appearance is too. Trim your beard, comb your hair, just do what you can to ensure you are presentable. Doing this can go a long way to showing not only that you respect the judge and the court, but that you take pride in yourself.
Second, try your best to remain calm and respectful. Though divorce is a very stressful experience and divorce court even more so, it is essential that you remain as professional as possible. Avoid making faces or lashing out when your former spouse speaks, even if they say something you very much disagree with. Behaving irrationally or showing your temper is likely exactly what your spouse wants and can undermine your case by making you appear unsympathetic. Instead, if you’re upset, try to calmly relay your thoughts to your lawyer. He or she can respectfully raise any worthwhile concerns with the judge at the appropriate time, sparing you from having to do it yourself.
The final suggestion is to take time to strategize with your lawyer before heading to court. Though this might feel like a waste of time, it absolutely is not. If you have any anxiety about appearing before a judge, schedule a meeting in advance with your attorney who can prep you for what will happen in court. He or she can walk you through the whole process, who will be there, what the judge will want to hear, how you should behave, where to sit, etc. It is amazing how arming yourself with information can go a long way to reducing anxiety. If you feel prepared, you can be calm in court, sparing yourself unnecessary anxiety.
If you find yourself facing a complicated family law matter, then you need the help of experienced family-law attorneys in Charlotte, North Carolina who can help guide you through the often confusing process of divorce. Please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (704) 370-2828 or find additional resources here.
About the Author
Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.
Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.
A certified Family-Law Specialist, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state and administrative courts in North Carolina, before the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, and before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.
In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.
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