Appearing in court can be a remarkably stressful event. The courthouse seems like a foreign environment, wholly unlike the images we’ve seen on television. Except for the occasional traffic ticket, most people have very little experience with the legal process. The anxiety is compounded by the knowledge that you will be appearing in court for your own case.
This fear and apprehension is common, and it is caused largely by a lack of understanding of what to expect. The best way for you to prepare is to discuss the court appearance with your divorce attorney. If you have any uncertainty as to what to expect, you should make your concerns known to your divorce lawyer, well in advance of the scheduled court appearance.
The following are only some of the questions which should be clearly answered:
Although it may be unfortunate, it is not uncommon for a divorce attorney to spend his or her time preparing for the substantive aspects of your court appearance and neglect to explain the more fundamental steps of the process. We often forget that something which is routine and mundane for a seasoned litigator is likely to be entirely new to a client. Don’t be shy! Ask questions. If you don’t quite understand the explanation provided, ask again. Remember, this is your case. You have a right — and, indeed, an obligation — to understand the process. In short, there are no stupid questions.
Michael S. Schiffman practices family law in Illinois, where he devotes 100% of his practice to litigation.