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For many people, attending a divorce hearing will mark the first time they have been in front of a judge, and it can be a nerve-wracking and stressful experience. Not all divorces will involve significant time in court, but just in case yours does, you want to make sure that you are prepared for what court entails.

In the initial court hearing, the judge will usually make decisions and issue orders on things like child and spousal support. In some cases, these orders may be temporary, depending on the circumstances surrounding the divorce. The judge will also hear what issues the spouses were unable to agree upon, such as who should have custody of the children, how property should be divided, etc. If spouses are unable to come to an agreement, the judge will set dates for additional hearings to discuss these issues, review evidence from both sides, and come to a decision. In some cases, when both spouses have agreed to terms outside of the courtroom, additional hearings may not be necessary.

On the day of your scheduled hearings, it will be to your benefit to make it to the courtroom early. Being late to or missing your hearing could leave the judge with a negative impression of you, which could have a negative impact on the outcome of your divorce.

It is also important that you come prepared. Consult with your attorney before hand, and have exactly what you want to say/address in writing, act professionally and politely, and make note of any deadlines the judge gives you or your spouse. You want to make sure that the judge knows you are taking things seriously.

While awaiting for your next hearing, maintain a positive lifestyle and abide by any orders the judge sets forth in previous hearings. If you’re having a difficult time maintaining control over your emotions, counseling may be beneficial to you. You don’t want to do anything that may put you in a negative light, and cause the judge to side with your spouse.

For some, divorce can be a long and painful experience. However, with the help of an experienced divorce attorney, this process can go smoothly and will be over quickly.