How to Prepare for Virtual Divorce Court on Long Island
Getting a divorce on Long Island during a pandemic is a little bit different than it was before, namely because virtual courts are being utilized significantly more than in the past. Although courts have been using online conference call software for some time internally, citizens are just now seeing this technology in the family legal space. If you’ve never attended a virtual court hearing, you should know what to expect and how you can best prepare.
Remember Virtual Court Is Still a Professional Environment
Although virtual court is a somewhat less formal setting than a courtroom, it’s important that you remember it’s still court and therefore, a professional environment. You should take virtual court as seriously as you would any other legal or business meeting. Here are some tips to keep in mind when getting ready:
- Dress for success. You wouldn’t wear a t-shirt to a traditional divorce court hearing, and you shouldn’t wear one to a virtual hearing either. You may be able to opt out of a suit, but men should at least wear a dress shirt and tie and women should wear suitable professional attire.
- Come prepared. You don’t want to get caught off guard without the documentation you need during your hearing. Print copies of all pertinent paperwork and have them with you in labeled folders or a portfolio that allows you to easily find the documents you need at your hearing.
- Arrive early. Just like with traditional family court, you should be early to your hearing. You and your attorney should be ready to log in ideally even before the judge gets on the call. What you don’t want is to be late and join the call after everyone else already has. This will not put you in good favor with the jude.
- Prevent interruptions. Let your family know ahead of time that you will be unavailable during your hearing. If you have children, hire a sitter to watch them inside or outside the home. You should also consider locking the door; apologizing to a judge for a knock on the door is arguably better than explaining away someone barging in. By the same token, turn off your cell phone, or at least turn off the ringer.
Create an Appropriate Background Setting
Plan ahead where you will attend your conference call and look at what others who dial in will see when they view you on their screens. Is your background distracting or cluttered? Do you have photos or art on the wall you’d prefer not to show? Are there any awards or certificates that you do want to display? While a plain or professional looking background is ideal, if you have time, you can curate your space to give the best impression possible.
Check Your Equipment Before Your Virtual Court Hearing
A day or two before your hearing, check to make sure your microphone and webcam are working properly. This allows you to replace any hardware well before the meeting if necessary. Charge all equipment that runs on a battery, such as a headset or cell phone, the night before. The morning of your hearing, you should also do a test run to ensure everything is in working order. If there are any issues, you’ll have at least a few hours before the hearing to fix the problem.
Avoid Distractions During Virtual Court
During the hearing, you should be focused on the judge and what everyone in the virtual courtroom is saying. There may be several people who attend, including your ex-spouse, their attorney, the judge, your attorney, and other court officials. This can sometimes get confusing when people start to talk over each other or don’t realize that they’ve been asked a question. Don’t text or scroll on your phone while in the meeting; make sure the judge can see that you’re paying attention, especially when they are speaking directly to you.
Hire an Experienced Long Island Divorce Lawyer for Your Virtual Court Appearance
Other than the venue, there’s no difference between a traditional divorce hearing and a virtual one. The same topics like child custody and alimony are discussed and the final verdict is just as legally binding. This means it’s just as crucial for you to work with a veteran divorce attorney in your area.
Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. can help you navigate the divorce process and increase your chances of obtaining a successful outcome. Contact our office today to schedule your free initial consultation by dialing 631-923-1910 or fill out the short form on this page.
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