Building Confidence for (Divorce) Legal Proceedings

building self confidence for legal proceedingsOne of the most challenging experiences for me during my divorce, was simply dealing with lawyers, attending meetings, discoveries, examinations and finally trial.

It can be intimidating to say the least. It’s one thing to sit with your own lawyer in their office but very different to sit across from your ex and his lawyer in a conference room. Add a court reporter, recording devices, piles of documents and know that you’re going to be grilled by a lawyer any moment, and you start to sweat.

Everything you say is being recorded and turned into TRANSCRIPTS- which can be used against you—no pressure.

We’re intimidated because we’ve never dealt with legal issues before our divorce. Ever. As scary as it is though, you can remain calm, cool and collected. Remember, your lawyer is right there beside you and will intervene (object) if there are questions that are irrelevant. Although they can’t answer any questions for you, they are there to protect your rights and ensure nothing damaging is being asked or answered.

So, what can we do to build our confidence for legal proceedings during our divorce?  5 TIPS to get you started;

1. Pick a power outfit. If you think what you wear is unimportant, think again. Consider a woman in a hot pink, low cut top and matching stilettos. Now picture a woman in a navy blue crew neck and oxfords.  See the different impression each woman gives off?

Wear something that makes you feel and appear confident. For me, I can’t go wrong in black jeans and a white blouse. I might throw on a black jacket. This works well with blue jeans or a pencil skirt depending on your own personal style. Above all, dress comfortably. You don’t want to overdress and then feel like you’re in someone else’s body. This is less about showing off fashion savvy or color coordination and more about simplicity. Pick something that says—“I am confident”.

2. Have a mantra; a mantra is a form of prayer or meditation made up of a few words. It’s a phrase or a single word that when repeated has the power to make you feel stronger. You could write your mantra down on your pad of paper in your meeting, as a visual cue. Here’s a few I like:

“I am capable and strong”

“I trust myself.”

“I trust the Universe to give me what I need”

“Inhale. Exhale.”

“I am healthy and happy.”

-the goal is to stay calm and focused which will contribute to greater confidence.

building self confidence for your legal proceedings

3. Wear a piece of jewelry or a charm as your own personal talisman. Maybe it’s something your grandmother gave you? It could be a ring, a bracelet, necklace. I have a necklace and on the pendant is engraved a line from a Walt Whitman poem: “From this hour I ordain myself loosd of limits and imaginary lines”. (that’s not a typo 🙂 that’s how they spelled back then) I like to wear it to remind myself not to create limits on myself. Live with freedom. Don’t be a prisoner to that little voice…

4. Do a little homework prior to legal briefings or proceedings. If you have already submitted Affidavit(s) then review them. You don’t want to contradict your own sworn statement. Understand legal terms so you don’t feel intimidated by the lawyers when they discuss things like “undertakings“, “under advisement“, “pre-conference trial”, “affidavit”, “court order”, “consent order” etc. Having this introductory knowledge will build your confidence.

5. Body language speaks volumes; exude strong body language including eye contact, sitting up straight, shoulders back just like they taught you in school. Any seated posture where you are taking up space in the room shows you have confidence. No neck touching (sign of distress) or making yourself small (legs crossed, arms hugging your body). A great thing to do before attending any event where you will be evaluated is to practice what Amy Cuddy  refers to as a power pose for 2 minutes. Think Wonder Woman stance. I tried to find a good photo of Womder Woman but the photos were all ‘sexy’ cartoon characters, not exactly inspiring.

In Amy Cuddy’s Ted Talk she insists and proves through scientific studies, that if we practice power poses (confident body language) that our mind will start to believe in our own power. Check out her talk for further inspiration.

BONUS TIP;  You don’t have to know all the answers. “I don’t know” is a perfectly acceptable answer and better than trying to remember something that isn’t clear in our mind or making something up on the spot because we feel ‘dumb’. Never feel dumb in a legal proceeding. No one has all the answers. Lawyers and Judges don’t always have all the answers either.

Building our self confidence prior to legal proceedings during our divorce or any other occasion where we will be evaluated, can make a big difference in how we come across. Are we powerful or powerless? Try the tips and you will indeed be and feel more confident. Whether it’s wearing a special piece of jewelry, repeating a mantra, picking the right clothing or practicing a power pose…use whatever you can to build yourself up. Fake it until you become it. You got this.

Please add your own thoughts or a personal confidence building tip in the comments!



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23 Replies to “Building Confidence for (Divorce) Legal Proceedings”

  1. Hi Lisa,

    This is a powerful message! I totally support your view of exhibiting your confidence in the face of such circumstances. You have described confidence bit by bit, so well, like a true teacher who infuses a spirit of bravery in the youngsters!

    Confidence is of utmost importance even in everyday dealings. When somebody looks at our appearance, gait and the willingness to take on the challenges by looking straight in the eye, that is the first impression we convey…come on, I am iron! It intimidates the other person who might be considering us a weaker individual.

    Have a nice week. Stay blessed!

    1. Thank you, Balroop! This is what I needed back when I was going through my divorce. I wasn’t really prepared for the legal proceedings. I learned as I went along but I wish I had more confidence at the time. It’s amazing how our body language and even our clothing send a message of confidence but it’s feeling that inside that’s most important of all. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here! 🙂

  2. Hi Lisa,

    Informative post indeed 🙂

    I do have a few friend’s who are going through this phase and would be forwarding them your post for sure. Yes, self-affirmations always do help as I have seen in a few cases, especially when they deal with court cases, lawyers and the several hearings!

    Building up the self confidence is so important when you have to face people, not to mention how you manage to deal with your own emotions through it all, which certainly isn’t easy. Yet, one does it – I guess that strength just comes in, isn’t it?

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week ahead 🙂

    1. Hi Harleena, yes there’s the emotional aspect of legal proceedings. The mantra can really help in that way. I learned that in yoga class. I hope this post helps your friends. Thank you for sharing my work, Harleena!

  3. Love these tips! They can really be used to build confidence in any situation! One thing that helps me build confidence is to do my homework. For example, if I’m going into a meeting with a restaurant owner, I do a tad bit of googling beforehand so I can have background on what they did before, cuisines they excel at, etc. Makes for easier conversation points:-)

    1. That’s a great example, Jess. Knowledge is power! It gives you that confidence to keep the conversation going in the right direction=confidence.

  4. Anytime you have to deal with lawyers or attorneys and have a trial is nerve-whacking. I saw a judge last year twice and was so scared, but everything turned out wonderfully. And I did wear my good luck necklace. 😀

    1. That’s awesome, Chrys! That must have been intimidating. Judges are but they’re only human too. We tend to think of them as scary people (although I have seen one or two who were scary :P) I’m happy for you that all worked out well!

  5. Hi Lisa,
    I love this post!! I’m not sure if I’m responding twice–and if I am, feel free to delete!

    I was a total mess in the beginning, a couple of court appearances, I just bawled through the whole thing. By the time I got to the trial, I was more confident, felt much stronger in the support I had around me (lawyer, friends, family, witnesses, therapist). Still, it’s a scary experience.

    My two mantras:

    You know the truth. You are taking a stand in your truth.


    You are the only person who can advocate for the safety of your children. You are the one who can and must ensure the safety of your children.

    <3 <3 <3

    1. Those are great mantras, Jane! My readers here will find those useful, no doubt! You were very brave going up against your abuser and protecting your kids. It must have been really scary, yet you did it with confidence. Believing in your truth—gives you strength. Thanks for sharing your valuable point of view!

  6. Yep, self confidence. Never leave home without it. And a talisman might just be the finishing touch that secures the confidence in place.
    I would add that as you sit shaking in your boots it does well to remember that appearances aside, the opposing side feels the same.

    1. So those stink eyes are all just show? 😛 You make a great point that the opposition feels just as insecure and nervous. Thanks, Diedre!

  7. Hi, this is really wonderful, it is very informative and I’m perfectly sure that it is very helpful. We have to always remember that being confident and believing in our own self worth is the best thing a woman can be. Thanks for sharing. Great post!

  8. Thanks for this comment Chrys Fey, I agree that legal proceedings can be a little nerve-wracking, and scary. Last year, my dad was putting together a trust for some money he earned, and when he asked to help, I was out of my element. After getting some advice, I realized how simple of a process it is, and what I needed to do. I look forward to the putting together my own trust in the future.

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