10 Ways to Impress Your Family Law Judge

Posted by: Shel Harrington 31 Comments

Your family law attorney has given you plenty of tips about how to behave in court – keep your cool, let him do the talking unless you are asked a question, dress conservatively. Really? How is that mundane behavior going to get the judge to notice you? And if she doesn’t notice you, however will she know that you are the bigstock-Eye-Monster-6675862righteous one and that your spouse is not to be believed on any given subject? Following are sure-fire ways to get yourself noticed by the judge.

  1. Wear a hat. If you’re female, make sure it has moving parts to keep the judge’s eye on you – a feather or something that sparkles. Don’t worry about not being taken seriously, it’s about being seen. If you’re male, make sure you wait until you are invited to remove your hat before doing so – this will serve the dual purpose of putting the judge in his place with an initial show of disrespect as well as allow all to admire your hat-hair-look for the rest of the proceeding.
  2. Display your righteousness. Enter the courtroom with a (large) bible tucked under your arm, wear a military uniform, or clip on law enforcement emblems so the judge can tell immediately which one of the parties is the good one. [Note: if you opt for a bedazzled “Jesus Loves Judges” T-shirt, you may skip the hat suggestion in number one.]
  3. Express your individuality. This is very helpful if righteous-wear isn’t available. Wear distinctive make-up (think streetwalker here) and prominently display tattoos. Show as many body piercings as is legally possible in a public forum. Now’s a great time to let the world know about your tongue stud. In spite of your garbled speech and the fact that the judge is distracted by pondering how you can talk at all with that in your mouth, you will impress more than just the court with your creative expression.
  4. One word: cleavage. The more you show the clearer you can get your message across to the judge that you know darn well they don’t pay attention to the law when they make their decisions. And this isn’t just for women. Man-cleavage will not only get you noticed, it will get your image burned into the brain of more than one court attendee long after the proceeding is over.
  5. Assist the judge in recognizing when the other side is being an idiot. Accomplish this by rolling your eyes, sighing loudly and shaking your head vigorously as necessary. If the judge misses these subtle clues, try a loud snort during the other side’s testimony.
  6. Interrupt the judge while he’s speaking. While the tips in number 5 can also be used if you disagree with the judge, a more effective option would be to actually interrupt. This will show that you aren’t afraid to take charge or assert yourself whether or not it makes sense to do so.
  7. Keep the focus on yourself when it is not your turn to speak. Tapping a pen against a notebook, loudly drumming your fingernails, cleaning out your purse or wallet might be just the little clue the judge needs to realize how boring the other side’s story is.
  8. Prove that you are a free-thinker not constrained by rules and regs. Pull out your cell-phone and start texting. Want to get some real attention? Actually make a call, hold up a finger to the judge while murmuring importantly: “I have to take this.”
  9. Demonstrate that you have more on the ball than the other side’s attorney. If he is asking you questions on cross examination, be evasive – make him work for every response. Shoot some questions back at him: “Where do you live?” and “Why do you think I would say that?” This technique can be employed directly with the judge if she is nosy enough to ask you her own questions.
  10. Magnify the drama. Surprised? Gasp loudly. Upset? Sob noisily (don’t worry about real tears, this is all about emoting). Angry? Slam a fist on the table. Don’t like the result? Stomp out of the courtroom letting the doors slam behind you. [Note: if the doors are the type that swing closed quietly, you may need to kick something on the way out to get the same audio effect.]

You now have all the tools you need to have your family law judge remember your colorful self. Using any of these tools assists the judge in making their final decision. When it comes time for the judge to decide which parent should have primary custody or which party is more credible in their presentation of the facts, you have made it easy for the judge to choose between you and the predictable stability and mundane respectfulness of the other side.

Do you have any other ideas to impress a family law judge? Please share them in the comment section below.

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31 Comments

  • Tracie

    I couldn’t DISAGREE more. This is HORRIBLE advice.

    • Shel Harrington

      It is, indeed, Tracie, horrible “advice.” That is why I wrote in this tongue-in-cheek way – to demonstrate how awful one would come across doing any of these things. The true message here is to warn people going to court about behaving or dressing in a way that would bring negative attention from the Family Law Judge. Hope that clears things up!

  • Chris

    Another suggestion is to wear a prom dress like Chuck’s client did. It was very effective.

    • Shel Harrington

      If you know you’re going to celebrate right after court, guess it makes sense to wear your dancing clothes!

  • Ashley

    Don’t forget the $1200 shoes, custom tailored suits and above all, the huffing and puffing at the opposing attorney’s comments!!!! 😉 Love you, Shel!

    • Shel Harrington

      Ah – spoken like someone who knows what she’s talking about, Ash!!! Love that you are on the other side of that mess and in a really great place.

  • Ann

    These were wonderful, Shel.
    You left one out.
    Be sure to ignore the questions asked you because you know better than any lawyer or judge what is really important. Tell your side of the story as often as you can. Everyone truly needs to hear the truth over and over.

    • Shel Harrington

      I agree, Ann – you just knowthe judges love all that repetition!

  • So true! The court room is the real reality TV.

  • This is absolutely hilarious and true, from what I’ve seen in family law court rooms. The eyeball rolling and sighing is very common,as is the cleavage display. Love this!

    • Shel Harrington

      Thanks, Jill! Makes one wonder why people watch TV when there’s so much live drama available!

  • Cindy G

    I assume that you got all of these ideas from actual experience! Gotta love your job! Cindy

    • Shel Harrington

      Everything but the bedazzled “Jesus Loves Judges” T-shirts – that was a figment of my obviously warped imagination!

  • Do you think people have always been this outrageous in the courtroom, or did it get worse when Judge Judy and her ilk gained so much popularity on TV?

    • Shel Harrington

      I think in-court behavior is a reflection of society as a whole. The lack of decorum and respectfulness in schools as well as the casual challenge of school authorities is more obvious because more of us deal with classrooms than courtrooms, but it is the same unfortunate dynamic.

  • Mag-B

    Oh this is priceless!!!! If only all could see themselves that clearly in the mirror!!!

    • Shel Harrington

      Hmmm, there’s an idea: mirrors in front of the Judge’s bench so they can see what the judge see!

  • Gina kishur

    Hilarious, and so true. There is one other thing. Faint when you get the ruling because that is for sure going to get the judge to reverse the ruling.

    • Shel Harrington

      Fainting is good – although one should practice ahead of time for maximum impact!

  • Debbie

    It’s too late- all of the highly original people are already employing all those suggestions on the PO dockets

  • Clearly I had it all wrong before, Shel. Thanks for clarifying! 🙂

  • Deb Felice

    Too funny. Your best post yet. There is a reason that people say that the best humor is rooted in true life experiences.

  • I can’t get the image of a woman in that “bedazzled” t-shirt wearing a big, feathered hat!

  • Lindsey

    Very funny and surprisingly accurate from some of the things I saw in family law!

    • Shel Harrington

      Thanks, Lindsey. Sometimes the truth isscarier than fiction!

  • As usual, Shel, you’ve managed to make sound, practical advice lol funny! I have a strong suspicion these aren’t made-up scenarios–am I right?

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