Tips For Your Next Trip to Court

We would like to offer a few tips to people who have upcoming court dates for their divorce case in the Chicago area. Having to go to court is nerve-wracking enough, so we hope that these suggestions will help put people at ease.

– Plan on arriving at the courthouse early. Many divorce cases in the Chicago area are heard at the Daley Center, which is located in downtown Chicago. There are suburban Cook County courthouses located in Skokie, Rolling Meadows, Maywood, Bridgeview, and Markham. As you can imagine, both vehicle traffic and public transportation delays can prevent you from arriving at court on time. You should allow extra time to travel to your courthouse. It is better to arrive early than to be late for your court date. If you are late for court, your case may be delayed or not heard at all, and if you have an attorney, you may incur extra legal fees while your attorney has to wait for you.

– Dress neatly and conservatively. Your court date is not the place to show off your new party outfit and it is not the gym. We suggest that you wear clean and conservative clothing. You want your Judge to pay attention to what you are saying, not what you are wearing.

– Leave your children at home. Ask someone to watch your children while you go to your court date. As one of our previous posts explained, minor children of parties to a divorce case are generally not allowed to be present in the courtroom while cases are being heard. Unless special arrangements have been made in which your Judge will be speaking with your child, you should not bring him or her to court.

– Have everything you need for your court date ready no later than the night before your court date. If you are represented by an attorney, contact them before your court date to confirm whether you need to bring anything other than yourself to court. If you are representing yourself, make sure that you have all the past orders and documents filed by both you and your spouse in your case. Your Judge may ask to see these documents. Be organized and make sure your documents are set aside so all you need to do in the morning is pick them up and go. Many people forget important documents when they are scrambling to assemble everything they need an hour before their court date is set to start.

– Be respectful and courteous to the Judge, the court staff, and your soon-to-be Ex. It might be hard, but you should exhibit control and restraint if you are upset by something the Judge or your spouse or his or her attorney says. Avoid interrupting your Judge or your spouse when they are speaking. Avoid insulting the Judge, your spouse, or your spouse’s attorney when making arguments to the court. Make logical, rather than emotional, arguments to advance your position.

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If you are looking for legal advice and representation with an Illinois divorce, schedule a consultation with experienced Chicago divorce attorney, Tanya Witt, at (312) 500-5400 or

Representing men and women in Chicago divorce and child custody cases.

This blog does not constitute legal advice. Please consult with an attorney regarding your specific case.