Tips for Success in Family Court

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Our Pittsburgh divorce lawyers know that divorce cases only very infrequently make it to trial. Most cases, at some point, whether in mediation, or conciliation, or through negotiations between counsel, will settle, and a Consent Order or a Property Settlement Agreement will be filed, resolving any issues of property. (The same goes for support and child custody.)

However, our divorce lawyers proceed with every case as if it could go to trial, because in many cases a settlement will only occur on the morning of trial. If a case does not settle, however, you have to be prepared to go to trial. Your experienced Allegheny County divorce lawyers will prepare you in advance for any questions that may be asked of you, as well as how the trial will proceed and what you can expect to happen that day versus after the trial.

There are certain things that you can do, however, to try to get a good result for yourself. How you present yourself, including how you dress, how you address the Judge and Court staff, and how you act in the courtroom, can have a huge impact on the outcome of your case. This is because a large part of a Judge’s findings are based on perceived credibility. If they feel that you’re telling the truth, and are responsible and respectful, then they may award you shared custody or certain assets. If the opposite is true, then you may be negatively affected. Additionally, a judge’s credibility determination is respected on appeal, so there is no ability to challenge it.

Some of the things that you can do, although they may seem to be common sense, will greatly improve your credibility in court:

•· Dress appropriately. Wear conservative clothing in understated colors. Leave your bright red suit, ripped jeans, joke t-shirts, and short skirts at home.

•· Turn off your cell phone. There are signs posted in the court building asking you to turn off your cell phone so that court proceedings are not disturbed. Moreover, being on your cell phone indicates that you have something more important to be doing at the moment. Respect the authority and importance of the court, and leave it off.

•· Be respectful to the Judge and court staff. The Judge is making a decision that will have a major impact on your future. The court staff is facilitating the process, and can make life easier or more difficult for you.

Our Pittsburgh family law attorneys have the experience and knowledge to prepare you for all aspects of trial, and we will make sure you go in informed. Contact our team today!