Although most people settle their divorce without going to trial, some people need the help of a judge when it comes to issues like division of property, child custody, child support, and spousal support. If your Washington divorce case goes to trial, it is key to your outcome that you know how to properly look and behave in front of the judge. While there is no reason to be overly nervous, you should be aware of some general conduct guidelines:


  • Respect the judge. The judge will be making all of the final decisions, not a jury, and it is, after all, the judge’s courtroom. Be sure that you listen to what he or she says. Always address the judge as “Your honor.” Stand when the judge enters the courtroom.
  • Stay on point and stay calm. When you are asked to speak, be to the point, respectful, and confident. Think about the question you are asked and answer it without wandering off-topic. Don’t get angry, resentful, combative, or over emotional in any way.
  • Never interrupt. Wait for your turn to speak. Don’t interrupt the judge, witnesses, your spouse, the other attorney, or your attorney.
  • Pay attention. Yes, court proceedings can be boring. However, it is important that you listen to what is going on and do not get distracted. Do not doodle, use a mobile device, or otherwise show that your mind is not on the matter at hand.
  • Dress professionally. Appearances do matter. Dress as you might dress for a job in an office and avoid anything out of the ordinary. Men should wear suits or button-down shirts and slacks. Women should wear tailored slacks, a skirt, or conservative dress. Make sure your clothing is clean and presentable.
  • Talk to your lawyer before the trial. As always, remember that all divorce cases are different. Before the trial, discuss with your attorney how you should act in court and what you should wear – he or she can better prepare you for the specific trial that you will be attending.


Are you concerned that your divorce will head to trial? If so, you may need the assistance of a Bellevue divorce attorney. Call the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny today to schedule an appointment: 425-460-0550.

Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington