Dressing and Behaving in Court

A Guide to everything you should know about selling.

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Chapter 5

Dressing and behaving in court during your structured settlement purchase

A court denial when you are trying to sell your annuity payments will put a real damper on your plans. People have their structured settlement purchase denied for various reasons. Some of these reasons you have little control over, like a judge’s attitude. Others you can control. For example, people have damaged their case by walking into court badly dressed, talking back or yelling at the judge at the hearing, or arguing with a family member at the hearing. When you do these things the judge doubts your credibility and your ability to make sound financial decisions.

If you really want your structured settlement purchase to be approved how you present yourself is important. Following is a list of DOs and DO NOTs in court to make it easier for a judge to approve your sale:

  1. Dress well. Wear your “Sunday best”, which means nice, clean pants that are not made of denim (jean material), do not have holes in them, and look professional. Business casual dress is fine. For example, Dockers-type khaki pants are fine, for men or women, with a button down shirt, or, at minimum, a collared “Polo” style shirt. A suit, shirt and tie, or nice dress, is even better. Your sale of injury structured settlement payments will go better.
  2. Avoid hats, outlandish colors, strange hair color, excessive visible piercings or tattoos, chewing gum, chewing tobacco, and so forth. We say this not to stifle your personality but because judges are still generally conservative. If you want approval then you need to look respectful and responsible.
  3. Come alone or with another person who is also respectfully dressed and well behaved. The judge will notice your companions. If you have an unruly child who is disturbing the courtroom, or a grubby friend in a baseball cap snapping their gum, this will not reflect well upon you.
  4. Never go to court under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you are slurring your words or otherwise seem under the influence the judge will feel you are unfit to make long-term financial decisions and may deny your sale; At Strategic Capital we’ve seen it happen.
  5. Be prepared to answer questions about the sale. The judge will want to know that you understand the terms of the sale. You should know the discount rate, the value of payment, what you are receiving for those payments, and what you plan to do with the money.
  6. Be prepared to discuss the future. The judge will probably want to know how you will get along in the future after your structured settlement purchase. The best thing to do is to prepare a budget in advance, showing the judge what you will do with the money and how you will manage without the payments that you are selling.
  7. Be respectful. Answer all of the judge’s questions in a polite, friendly tone. Do not be sarcastic. Do not make any tasteless or questionable jokes. Do not speak unless asked a question.
  8. Call Strategic Capital to sell your injury structured settlement payments. When you talk with us our friendly customer service reps will ensure that you are prepared and feel comfortable with your role in the court hearing.

Dress for success!

Dressing appropriately for court is a courtesy in that it shows that you respect the judge and the judicial process of the United States. Dressing appropriately also demonstrates to the judge that you are thoughtful and serious, it gives you credibility. This will make the judge less likely to doubt the validity of your request (he or she will be more likely to think that the reason you want a lump sum is a good one) and be more likely to believe that you understand the repercussions of your sale and are making an educated decision.