Courtrooms can be intimidating places if you have never been in one before. One important question you may be asking is, “Where do I sit”? Here is the rule of thumb. If you are the petitioner in your action, you sit at the “counsel table,” closest to the jury box. The counsel tables are the two tables beyond the low swinging door. Obviously, if you are the respondent you sit at the counsel table furthest from the jury box. If there is not a jury box, or the judge is in the middle of the courtroom, see if there are any labels on the tables. Many judges have helped pro per (without attorney) litigants by labeling the tables.
Also, only you and your attorney may sit at the counsel table. It might be helpful to have friends and family attend hearings with you, but they must sit behind the railing in the “gallery.” Remind your friends and family that their actions reflect upon you. Tell them to be on their best behavior. They should not speak or whisper, make noises or sighs. It is surprising what judges are able to hear up on the bench. Remind your friends that food and drinks are not appropriate for the courtroom. Turn off your cell phone and do not answer it or text message during your hearing! And, under NO circumstance should you bring your child to court or the courtroom. There are very few exceptions to this rule. If a judge sees your child, the judge will immediately ask that the child be removed from the courtroom and will likely get very upset that you decided to bring your child into such an environment. This will not reflect positively on your parenting skills.
The next scenario is likely if one party or the other has an attorney and you are attending a Resolution Management Conference. Remain in your seat until the court clerk announces, “All rise.” At that time, the judge enters the courtroom and tells everyone to be seated. (Every time the judge comes in or out...Read More >