Many family legal matters are best solved outside of the courtroom, but sometimes agreements can’t be reached and you will need to head to court to settle the disagreement. Going to court can be a very overwhelming and scary experience, and some of us may not have any idea what to expect once we get there. Here are some helpful tips and what you need to know before you head into family court.
It’s a small, private setting
Despite what we may see in movies and on television, the courtroom will not be filled with people watching the proceedings. When children are involved, the proceedings could even be more private to help keep them comfortable and protect them. There will be very few people in court on that day, so you don’t have to worry about a lot of people watching as it happens.
Decisions are not made right away
Also, unlike television shows and movies, court decisions are likely not going to be made on the same day that you attend court. There are some exceptions, of course, where the welfare of the child is in immediate danger and an emergency decision needs to be made. Judges will often express their opinion and expect that the parties will further negotiate. It’s very rare that an order is imposed out of court.
Get a good lawyer
You cannot expect the judge or the court system to really help you through this, so you need to get an experienced family lawyer to help you with this process. You are allowed to represent yourself, of course, however without the experience and understanding of the legal system it’s a major risk to do so. To make sure you get the best possible outcome for you, seek professional legal advice.
Be prepared for an answer you don’t like
The process of family court is really complex and the answer may not be what you want it to be – especially when children are involved. The courts will make a decision that is in the best interests of the children, which may not be exactly what either parent really wants.
Going to family court poses a huge risk that things may not go your way. For people who want it their way or no way, this can be a major upset. If possible, try to reach a resolution outside the courtroom with mediators and a collaborative approach so that both parties can come to a mutually beneficial agreement.
It’s going to take a while
With any court proceedings there are a number of reasons a delay could happen, and family court is no different. It can take months or years to fully get through this and have a final decision. If one side is taking a very firm stance and isn’t willing to budge at all, it can delay things even longer.
While you’re waiting, try to do as much preparation as possible so that you are not caught off guard with something when you’re actually in court.
Going to family court is going to be incredibly difficult and will be hard on you emotionally. Being prepared can go a long way to helping with the overwhelming feelings that come with going to family court. If you have an issue that you believe can only be settled in family court, call us today to speak to one of our lawyers.