How To Behave During Your Virtual Court Hearing

How To Behave During Your Virtual Court Hearing

by Jun 17, 2020COVID-19, Family Law

As we wrote about previously, all family law cases here in Sonoma County–including divorce–are currently being handled remotely via video conferencing. While attending a virtual court hearing from the comfort of your home may give the proceedings a more casual feel, it’s important to remember that these are still official legal proceedings, and you should treat them as such.

Just like attending court in person, your appearance, manners, and behavior during the proceedings can have an impact on the outcome of your case. The fact that it’s now happening over the internet does not change this.

Virtual Court Hearing Do’s & Don’ts

To help you succeed, we’ve put together a quick list of teleconferencing do’s and don’ts to abide by during your next remote legal proceeding.

1) Dress appropriately: If you have a suit or good formal clothes, you should wear them for the conference call. Make sure the room you are in is well lit, and that whatever is in the background is not inappropriate or distracting.

2) No kids and/or pets: Do not let your children and/or pets be present in the room with you during the call if at all possible. Not only are they distracting for the other participants, they may distract you from important information.

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3) Do not interrupt the judge: Just like in a real courtroom, you should never interrupt the judge when he or she is speaking. In fact, your best bet is to let your attorney do as much of the talking as possible.

4) Mute yourself when you’re not speaking: When you’re not speaking, it’s a good idea to mute your audio (i.e. disable your computer’s microphone) so that whatever sounds you (or others in and around your home) are making are not being broadcast to everyone else on the call.

5) Look at the camera when you are speaking: When it’s your turn to speak, remember to look into the camera, not at your computer screen. This can feel awkward at first, but it will make a huge difference to everyone else.

6) Don’t surf the web: Resist the temptation to surf the web, check your email, or catch up on Twitter during your video conference. You may think you can surreptitiously browse and no one will be the wiser, but trust us, the judge can tell when you’re not paying attention to what’s going on.

7) Don’t eat on camera: Just because you’re at home, that doesn’t mean you should throw all decorum out the window. If you need to have some water or coffee with you during the call, that’s fine. Do not sit down with a bag of chips or a sandwich and snack while the hearing is underway.

Ultimately, if you’re unsure about what is or is not appropriate behavior during your virtual court hearing, just ask yourself if you would do this in a real courtroom. If the answer is “no”, then it’s probably a good idea to avoid it during the teleconference as well.


At Vonder Haar Law Offices, we offer every client a free phone consultation to discuss their unique situation and determine how we can help. To arrange a consultation, please fill out the adjacent form or call us at: (707) 529-3200.

We provide representation in California State and Federal Courts. We accept most major credit cards for your convenience.

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