Do Not Show Emotion
Video Transcribed: Ever bought a used car? Well, your custody case in Tulsa could be very much like buying a used car. My name is Brian L. Jackson, I’m an Oklahoma Father’s Rights attorney with Dads. Law. And today we’re going to talk about how your custody case is very much like buying a car. And what I mean by that is courtroom proceedings in custody cases that are one example of this, are very much like a business transaction, and you can think of them that way.
If you ever bought a car, one of the first things you learn about major purchases like this that can be haggled and negotiated, is you don’t want to show a lot of emotion. And the reason is, is if you show a lot of emotion to the salesperson and they start getting the idea that you have an emotional attachment to that vehicle, guess what they’re going to do?
They’re going to jack the price up, and they’re going to be less likely to give you a good deal because they’re going to have it in the back of their head, well, guess what? This person is probably not going to walk so I can try to push them a little bit to get them to pay more money.
There’s a similar principle in play when you’re dealing with courtroom proceedings. If you show a lot of emotion in court, the danger is that it could be interpreted a certain way, not in your favor. If you’re angry in court, a judge may interpret that as defensiveness.
If you are too emotional in court like you cry, the judge may interpret that as shame or guilt, particularly if you’re talking about serious allegations, like domestic violence, sexual abuse, child abuse, anything under those categories, that kind of behavior may communicate guilt to a judge, or defensiveness to a judge, and it’s not going to help you.
Additionally, you also want to be aware that when you are emotional, you are not thinking with the logical part of your brain. And this is another reason why you don’t want to get emotional on the car lot because you’re far more likely to do something impulsive.
Well, the same is true in the courtroom. If you’re getting emotional, even if you have a good reason to, you’re not thinking clearly. So when you testify, which you will have to, more than likely, you’re more likely to volunteer information or say something stupid.
And when I say stupid, I’m not trying to crack on you guys’ intelligence, that’s not what I mean. When I say something stupid, I mean something ill-considered, ill-conceived. You know, some wise-ass remark, some, “Well, this is bullshit”, kind of remark that’s going to hurt your case. So you want to control your emotions.
Generally speaking, what you want to project in the courtroom is what I call the concerned dad or the good dad. In other words, you want to look like a guy who’s mostly concerned about his children. You do not want to look like you’re concerned about getting back at your ex, nor do you want to look vengeful, nor do you want to look defensive.
You’re not there to vindicate your own name no matter what kind of bullshit she might’ve spread about you. I don’t care how nasty or horrible it is, family court’s not the place to vindicate your name. Family court is the place you go to fight for your children and to a lesser extent, to fight for your rights, if you’re getting divorced, to your property.
But in this context, I really want to talk about it in terms of child custody. You’re there because you’re fighting for your children’s rights to have a father and your rights to be a father. And you should always look at it from that standpoint.
You don’t want a judge to see you as vengeful, you don’t want a judge to see you as defensive. So what I’m getting at is, be very, very careful when you walk through those doors, how you present yourself. And of course, you want, again, you want to control your emotions too, so you don’t go off and say something stupid.
Let her ball on the stand, because guess what guys? I hate to tell you this, women can get away with that shit, and it sometimes helps them. If you cry, it ain’t going to help you. It may cause you to say or do something stupid, but no one’s going to feel sorry for you.
So understand that walking in the door. Your best bet is to act professionally and look like you’re concerned for your children. And preferably you’re concerned for your children more than yourself. You want what’s best for them. That’s what you want the judge to see in your body language, in your manner, in the way you address the court.
I’m going to make one last point about that, and then we’ll wrap up, but understand that the majority of communication, has nothing to do whatsoever with what you say and it’s about how you say it, and your body language is when you say it. That’s much more effective than the words.
So keep that in mind when you walk through the courtroom doors and approach a judge who doesn’t know you from Adam, and you’d be better off, I can almost guarantee it. I mean, nothing’s ever guaranteed a hundred percent, but what I’m getting at is it definitely doesn’t hurt, it may help.
So if you are looking at going to trial, you need help, you want to talk about this topic, or any other topic, go to Dads.Law.