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Follow these rules when heading to divorce court

Nobody really wants to end up in court during a divorce. That means that all the attempts to negotiate a solution between the parties involved have failed -- so it's up to a judge to decide how things are settled.

If this is your situation, however, it's important to refocus yourself around impressing that judge -- no matter what your spouse is saying about you. To give yourself a fighting edge in court, follow this guide:

1. Dress appropriately

It can be agonizing trying to figure out what to wear to court, but the best advice is to approach it like you are dressing for work in an office. Think conservatively and avoid wearing anything flashy. Understated is best -- especially if you're asking the court to consider the dismal state of your finances when making decisions on support.

2. Know what to expect

Make sure that your attorney gives you a fair idea of what to expect to happen inside the courtroom.

Your attorney should have some idea of what the judge might ask or say. You want to go over your responses to anticipated questions, in particular, so you aren't fumbling for answers at the last second.

3. Watch your language

You need to watch both the way that you speak and the messages conveyed by your body language.

You'll impress the judge as much more reasonable than your spouse if you stay calm (even during outrageous accusations), treat everybody (including your spouse's attorney) with respect and generally control yourself. Don't sigh, mutter under your breath or otherwise cause a scene -- no matter what is being said. You'll be given a chance to refute anything your spouse says, so just wait until it is your turn.

4. Be organized

Don't go into court with only half of what the judge expects to see available. Have your papers and documentation organized and ready to hand to the court as soon as they're requested. Not having your documentation in order can make the judge wonder if you have it at all.

Family legal issues are usually stressful and emotional, so go into court prepared for some drama. If you keep reminding yourself that this is all just "part of the process," it gets easier to accept and move through.

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