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What Happens If I Don’t Show Up For Divorce Court?

dont show up for courtNo matter what….make sure you show up to court!

I have come across so many people that think they are better off not appearing at a hearing because they believe they may not prevail. Whatever the circumstances may be: poor decisions, addiction issues, criminal issues, etc. – choosing not to appear is the worst thing you can do.

Showing Up for Your Raleigh Court Date is Essential

Why? By not appearing, you are allowing the other party to say whatever they want about you, and their words will be taken as the truth since you are not there to refute them. For example, you may have an issue with alcohol, but have never blacked out in front of your children; however, if that allegation was the testimony received into evidence during the hearing, it will be taken as fact. You are not going to have a chance in the future to refute the truthfulness of that statement because you lost that right by failing to appear. From that point on, you are going to have to overcome facts that are not necessarily true, but nonetheless have been established as true.

What Can a Person Facing Court Do?

Human beings are not perfect: we all make mistakes. It is better to face up to those mistakes than ignoring them, and lose any right to clear up the facts related to what your issues may be. If you cannot afford an attorney, a consultation is a great way to get legal advice on how to proceed and how to testify. The attorney may also offer affordable alternatives for you to consider, such as hiring him or her to negotiate on your behalf without representing you at the hearing. Also, it may be that the issues you are dealing with are not as bad as you think. An attorney can give you an idea of how serious the issue is, and what you can do to minimize the damage to your case. For example, let’s say there is an allegation made that you suffer from untreated bipolar disorder and it affects your parenting. You do in fact have this condition, but you are taking medication as prescribed in order to manage and treat it: this information needs to be brought to the court’s attention. Having mental illness in and of itself does not mean you are not capable of caring for your children. Evidence of prescriptions being regularly filled or doctors’ records/testimony can be helpful to substantiate this. Since these issues involve rules of evidence, it important to ensure that the evidence is properly offered. An attorney is the best person to ensure all appropriate evidence is offered at court; however, if you find yourself in the position of having to represent yourself, this would be a good question to ask at your consultation.

Can a NC Court Grant an Extension on My Case?

Another strategy to consider is asking for a continuance in order to hire an attorney. It is very important to seek legal counsel immediately once you are served or otherwise receive a notice of any hearing. Failing to take action until a day or two before the hearing is not ideal. If you do find yourself in this situation, this is always a request you can make; however, that request may be denied.

Be Careful How You Conduct Yourself in Court

If you are in court representing yourself, remain calm, be respectful to the attorneys and parties involved in the case, and speak clearly and truthfully. Getting overly emotional, whether you are angry or sobbing uncontrollably, is not going to help you. Take a deep breath or take a sip of water when you feel your emotions are taking over. The more reasonable and calm you appear in front of the judge, the better impression you will make. If your case is in Wake County, and typically in most other counties as well, you are assigned a judge who will be involved in the case until its end for the most part. Conducting yourself in a poor manner at the beginning will put you at a disadvantage moving forward in front of your assigned judge.

Here's the Bottom Line

In conclusion, it is important to SHOW UP to court. Be involved in your case, and be proactive in seeking legal counsel or seeking legal advice if you are representing yourself. Otherwise, you are giving the opposing party the opportunity to tell whatever kind of story they want to tell about you without anyone to stop them, and it will be almost impossible to disprove that testimony once it is found as a fact in a court order. Why? Because YOU DIDN’T SHOW UP to refute it!

Consult with a Raleigh Divorce Attorney

Don't hurt your case by not showing up for court. Contact a Raleigh divorce attorney to discuss your options for proceeding in your divorce case. Our attorneys can guide you through the divorce process, helping you to take the proper steps along the way. Contact us by calling 919-301-8843 or complete the form below.

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