How do I prepare for a family law trial?

5. Learn how to behave in court

Before you go to court:

  • Wear clothes that are suitable. For example, don't wear clothes with inappropriate language or images.
  • Bring all the documents you need.
  • Plan to be at the courthouse at least 15 minutes before your hearing. This gives you enough time to go through security and find your courtroom.
  • Be prepared for a possible security search at the courthouse.

When you are in the courtroom:

  • Don't bring any food or drink in the courtroom. Only water is allowed in the courtroom.
  • Don't chew gum.
  • Remove your hat.
  • Turn off cell phones or other electronic devices.
  • Always be respectful and polite to everyone.
  • You must stand when the judge enters or leaves the courtroom. You should also stand when you are speaking to the judge.
  • When you speak to the judge, say “your Honour”.
  • Always speak directly to the judge, not to your partner, except when you are examining a .
  • Always refer to other people in the courtroom by “Mr.”, “Ms.”, or “Doctor”. Do not use first names.
  • You may take notes during court so that you can properly respond to any issues that are raised.
  • If you want to speak during the hearing, talk to the judge. Do not talk to anyone else.
  • Do not interrupt when the judge is speaking.
  • Do not interrupt when another person is speaking unless you want to object to an inappropriate question during the examination of a witness.
  • Only one person is allowed to speak at a time.
  • If you are having trouble hearing the judge or anyone else, you should let the judge know.
  • Any documents you wish to give to the judge must be handed to the Court Registrar.
  • The judge cannot give you any legal advice because the judge must be fair and impartial and not take sides. But, if you have any questions about the court process during the hearing, you may ask the judge or .
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