Need to Go to Family Court? How to Prepare for Court Hearings

Do you need to attend a hearing in Family Court? Attending Family Court is quite often something which individuals would rather not do, but it is nevertheless necessary for resolving many different types of dispute over family law matters.

That being said, there is a lot that you can do to prepare for the hearing in order to make the process as quick and stress-free as possible whilst also showing proper etiquette and respect for all parties involved (no matter how you may feel personally).

Do’s and Don’ts of Family Court Attire

First and foremost, it’s important to consider how you dress for any court hearing. Family Court is a formal setting whereby formal attire is expected. This means that you should avoid wearing casual clothing, sunglasses, or hats unless for religious or medical reasons. There are no fixed rules per se, but your appearance does matter since it demonstrates respect for the court system.

Timing & Punctuality

It is extremely important that you arrive on time, punctually, for any court hearings. The Federal Circuit Family Court recommends that you arrive 45 minutes in advance, which is pretty lenient and gives you plenty of time to account for any possible disruptions (e.g. traffic). If this is your first time appearing in court, it also gives you some time to get acquainted with the layout and to rest your legs a little whilst collecting your thoughts.

If you cannot attend a court hearing, you must let the Court know as soon as possible. Medical emergencies can be considered, provided you alert the Court immediately that you cannot attend. Otherwise, the hearing will proceed without you (which often means that you’ll end up with an unfavourable outcome).

Behaviour & Etiquette

In order to enable the court to proceed in a timely and professional manner, you will be expected to behave accordingly. This means speaking clearly and without interrupting others when called on to speak, showing politeness and respect to the judge or registrar, and avoiding conversation with others in the courtroom. The only time you should interrupt is when it pertains to a legal matter, but your representative (if you’ve hired one) will do this for you as needed.

Also keep in mind that you cannot use any recording devices or your phone in the courtroom. Please turn your phone off and do not turn it on to chat or speak with anyone since your electronic device may be seized from you.

Food & Beverages

Family Court is not a canteen nor is it a fancy cafe where you can snack on some crisps and sip cola like you’re in a cinema. Do not bring any food or beverages into the courtroom. This means that you may wish to eat a hearty breakfast or lunch before attending the hearing so that you’re well-fed and hydrated throughout the day.

What to Bring to Family Court

The most important thing to bring to the courtroom is yourself! Other than that, it’s permitted and recommended that you bring any and all relevant documents to the hearing and case. Carry originals and photocopies in triplicate (one for you, one for the judge/registrar, one for the other party). Pen and paper are also permitted.

Most importantly, bring a legal representative with you. Family lawyers from National Family Lawyers can litigate family law matters on your behalf.

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