If you have an upcoming divorce or custody hearing, how you behave matters. Poor behavior could harm your chances of getting your desired outcome.
A judge is typically meeting you for the first time in a hearing. Theirs is not exactly a customer service role, but thinking of it as one can help.
What impression do you want to make?
If you have ever worked in a customer-facing role, think about which customers you remember. The chances are they fall into two types: Those who made you feel good and those who made you feel bad.
Now think about how their behavior affected yours. Perhaps when a customer came into the coffee shop you worked at, they were so pleasant that you served them a larger slice of cake. If they were rude, you might have chosen the smallest piece.
In both cases, you gave them the slice of the cake as required, yet one customer got a better deal than the other. The same can happen in court. However impartial a judge tries to act, they are human. If you make their day more enjoyable, they may treat you better when dividing property or custody. If you spoil it, they may feel less generous toward you.
There is no need to suck up to the judge
If you act like a reasonable person and a responsible parent, they will treat you like one. If you behave in a way that suggests you are bad-tempered, abusive or violent, they will assume that is how you are.
The sense of the unknown can make divorce and custody hearings a stressful prospect. Finding out more can help you enter them with a realistic understanding of what to expect.