One of our goals here on our Dallas family law blog is to help our readers overcome what anxiety or fear they may have about accessing the legal system. For many, feelings of trepidation often arise from the idea of the big “day in court.”

Admittedly, there can be a lot at stake in a court hearing. However, whether one is appearing in before a Dallas judge as part of a divorce, child custody hearing, adoption or other family law matter, there are some simple guidelines to follow. This is not intended as specific legal advice, but as general information only.

A courtroom is a formal setting, and participants should treat the judge (and any other courtroom staff) with respect. This includes referring to the judge as “Sir” or “Ma’am,” or simply “Your Honor” every time you address him or her. Even if someone else is saying something that you want to dispute, do not interrupt them. Objections are the only type of interruptions allowed, and if an attorney objects to something you are saying, you should stop talking and let the judge address the objection.

Some other general rules include dressing in clean, neat apparel. Your attorney can provide more specific advice in this regard, but courts will typically not allow shorts or t-shirts or accessories like hats or sunglasses. Some types of jewelry or hairdos may also be considered inappropriate. You also will not be able to eat or drink, chew gum, or use your cell phone in the courtroom.

If that seems like a lot of “do not” rules, we’ll look more closely at some “do” type of rules in follow-up posts. As always, an attorney is the best source for advice specific to you as an individual and the type of case in question.