Tips for the Courtroom 

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Be prepared:

 Get to the courthouse at least 30 minutes early to find parking and your courtroom.

 Bring change for the parking meter.

 Dress neatly. Do not wear shorts, tank tops or hats.

 Do not bring children

When you are in court:

 When the courtroom opens, go in and tell the clerk or officer you are present. The clerk usually sits next to the judge’s bench.

 Be calm and polite to everyone.

 Turn off your cell phone.

 Do not chew gum or bring food or drinks into the courtroom.

 Stand up when the judge enters or exits the courtroom. Stand up when you talk to the judge, unless you’re in the witness stand.

 The judge may not call your case right away. Wait patiently. If you have to leave the courtroom, tell the clerk where you are going.

 If friends or relatives come to court with you, ask them to follow these rules, too.

When the judge calls your case:

 The judge will have you raise your right hand and swear to tell the truth.

 If you have a divorce, case, you will need to give testimony. Some judges will ask you questions. Other judges will want you to read a “script” of testimony. You can find sample scripts – called “prove up testimony” – at Read the script ahead of time. Make sure everything in the script is true for you.

 When talking to a judge, call the judge “Your Honor.”

 If the judge asks you questions, wait until she or he finishes speaking before you speak.

 Tell the truth and don’t exaggerate. Give complete answers.

 Say “yes” or “no” out loud. It’s not enough to nod or shake your head.

 If you do not understand a question, say, “I don’t understand.” If you do not know an answer, say, “I don’t know.”

 The judge will listen to what you say and review your papers. If everything is in order the judge will sign your proposed Order or Decree.