You Have a Family Law Hearing . . . How Should You Prepare?

Mackenzie O. Bretz Edmonds Lawyer

Appearing in court or over Zoom for a hearing can be nerve-wracking. Here are some straightforward tips to help you exude confidence and professionalism.

What Should I Wear?

When appearing in court, it’s important to dress presentably, so stick to business casual attire.  This means wearing long pants, a skirt, or a dress with a top that has mid to long sleeves and no large graphics. Avoid wearing flip flops, slides, hats, hoodies, or anything that covers your face, unless it’s for religious reasons. And remember to practice good hygiene to show that you care about the hearing and have come prepared.

Do I Need to Bring Anything or Anyone with Me?

If you have legal representation, your attorney should have all necessary documents and be fully prepared to present your case orally, so you won’t need to bring anything. If you strongly feel the need for emotional support at the hearing, you can bring one close friend or family member. However, keep in mind that the courtroom is small, and the hearings can be lengthy, often lasting 3-4 hours. While having someone there for support may be comforting, it could also potentially distract you from focusing on your case.

What will I Have to Do in Court?

In most cases, you will not have to do anything if an attorney represents you. Firstly, make sure to arrive at the courthouse early. Although the courtrooms usually open at your scheduled hearing time, it’s best to give yourself some extra time to avoid being late. Once there, you will go into the courtroom and sit with your attorney until the commissioner calls the cases, similar to taking attendance. When your case is called, your attorney will respond, such as “Mackenzie Bretz for the Petitioner who is present in the courtroom to my right” or something similar. Then, when your case is called, you will stand at the front with your attorney while they present oral arguments. In very rare cases, a commissioner may ask you to be sworn in and provide your own testimony. However, this is not likely to happen without your attorney notifying you in advance. Although the issues addressed can be emotional, try to stay calm and composed throughout the hearing.


If you choose to appear via Zoom for your hearing, remember the Court can still see you.

While this may seem obvious to some, it can be easy to forget when in the heat of the moment. This means you should pick a neutral background with good lighting. I would avoid flags or anything political in your background. This also means you should still wear something presentable… at least from the waist up. Further, when you have large feelings or big reactions, please keep it to yourself, at least until after the hearing. While a poorly timed facial expression or extreme reaction will not make or break it for your case, you want to consider that the Courts perception of you is important, especially in family law. For example, when a commissioner is making a decision about domestic violence or parenting time, seeing a levelheaded individual in front of them may aid them in their decision. And lastly, this should go without saying, but do not smoke, vape, or participate in any illegal drugs while on your Court Zoom.

When represented by a Beresford Booth attorney for your family law hearing, you can relax. Leave the stress to us, while you show up as your best self. To prepare further for an upcoming hearing, please contact Beresford Booth at or by phone at (425) 776-4100.

To learn more about You Have a Family Law Hearing . . . How Should You Prepare?, please contact Beresford Booth at or by phone at (425) 776-4100.

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