Court dates are stressful! Before my first ever court date I barely slept and was relieved when it was finally time to get out of bed and stop pretending to sleep. The whole drive to the courthouse my stomach was in knots. As I sat waiting on the bench for my name to be called I had to breathe slowly and will my stomach to relax so I wouldn’t vomit. My body was shaking and I was on the verge of a panic attack for the two hours I had to wait.
Since that first horrible experience, I learned how to stay calm and make it through a court date with much less distress. Here is my cheat sheet for making it through a court date with sanity intact:
- Prepare. Do your best to feel prepared. Read over any evidence you think you may be questioned on. Go over your timeline of events and review dates. You can make a note to refer to while you are waiting in court. I also remind myself of possible responses to opposing counsel if I will be taking the stand. “Can you rephrase that question?” “What do you mean by _____?” “I’m unsure what you are asking me.” Never answer a question you aren’t sure of. Hopefully, your attorney will object for you. You can also ask for clarity at any time. It is empowering to advocate for yourself while you are under the microscope and shows the opposing attorney that you will not be pushed around.
- Rest. Give yourself a preparation cut-off time and then do something relaxing and go to bed early. Cramming all night is not going to help you in court the next day. You need as much rest as possible so you can think clearly and stay out of your emotions as much as possible. You will most likely be asked to make an important decision and you want to be able to think it through before responding.
- Clothing. Choose what you will wear a few days before court and have a backup outfit just in case. You want to look put together but not overdone. I err on the side of more dressed up and have been mistaken for an attorney when I’m going through security. You want to dress in a way that is respectful to the court. Women should wear three-quarter length or long sleeves. Modest…