Be prepared:

  • Get to the courthouse at least 30 minutes early to find parking and your courtroom.
  • Bring change for the parking meter.
  • Dress neatly. Do not wear shorts, tank tops or hats.
  • Do not bring children. Most courtrooms do not allow children.

When you are in court:

  • When the courtroom opens, go in and tell the clerk or officer you are present. The clerk usually sits next to the judge’s bench.
  • Be calm and polite to everyone.
  • Turn off your cell phone.
  • Do not chew gum or bring food or drinks into the courtroom.
  • Stand up when the judge enters or exits the courtroom. Stand up when you talk to the judge, unless you’re in the witness stand.
  • The judge may not call your case right away. Wait patiently. If you have to leave the courtroom, tell the clerk where you are going.
  • If friends or relatives come to court with you, ask them to follow these rules, too.

When the judge calls your case:

  • The judge will have you raise your right hand and swear to tell the truth.
  • You will need to give testimony to finish your divorce. Some judges will ask you questions. Other judges will want you to read a “script” of testimony. You can find sample scripts – called “prove up testimony” – at www.TexasLawHelp.org. Read the script ahead of time. Make sure everything in the script is true for you.
  • When talking to a judge, call the judge “Your Honor".
  • If the judge asks you questions, wait until she or he finishes speaking before you speak
  • Tell the truth and don’t exaggerate. Give complete answers.
  • Say “yes” or “no” out loud. It’s not enough to nod or shake your head.
  • If you do not understand a question, say, “I don’t understand.” If you do not know an answer, say, “I don’t know.”
  • The judge will listen to what you say and review your papers. If everything is in order the judge will sign your proposed order or Decree.
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