Let’s be honest: appearance counts. It would be great if the only thing the judge was going to consider in your custody case is your character and how well you parent your children. But, in the real world, how you look plays a part.
No one is doubting your style or your fashion sense. But, what makes you fabulous in the privacy and comfort of your own home may not seem so fabulous to a judge. Do you really want to lose points with the judge just to “be yourself” in court?
It’s time to dress for success. What you wear to court is going to send a message to the judge about how mature you are, your respect for the legal process, how serious you are about getting custody, and, frankly, your financial situation. At Family Matters Law Group, we’ve been coaching parents on how to dress in court for their child custody case for many years. Here’s our advice.
Women have many options for appropriate dress. Perhaps the easiest outfit is a solid dress in a dark color. But, pants are also appropriate. You can look very poised and confident in pants paired with a long sleeve shirt. A conservative skirt suit may also look good.
The bottom line is to wear something conservative and business-like. This is not a fashion show; it’s a court proceeding with a lot on the line.
Also, make sure you wear a nice pair of dress shoes. Consider a wig if your hair is an unnatural color. While earrings are certainly appropriate, other piercings need to come out. In court, wearing a lot of jewelry is unnecessary and often times distracting.
Gentlemen, you also need to look conservative and ready for business when you go to court. Put aside the tank tops and the sneakers and come ready to look your best.
For men, some appropriate dress styles are a dark suit with a tie or a dress shirt, tie and pants. It’s okay if you don’t wear a suit jacket. You need to have a collared shirt and dress shoes. Please remember that the color of your belt should match the color of your shoes.
Obviously, in summer or winter, you’ll need to make some adjustments to account for the weather. There’s no point in wearing a three-piece suit, for example, if you’re going to be sweating to death while wearing it in court.
For guys, it’s OK to leave the suit jacket at home in extreme heat. For both men and women, under no circumstances, no matter how hot, do not wear shorts or sleeveless tops to court.
(Did we mention that flip-flops are never a good idea?)
Remember, a custody hearing is not a place for you to fight for the right to “be yourself” or “dress how you like”. You’re making an impression on the judge, so don’t be offended if the judge’s sense of style does not match your own. It won’t matter after you’ve gained custody of your children!
As stated before, earrings are OK for jewelry, but other piercings need to be removed and if you can cover the holes with makeup, it’s all the better. Tattoos may be artistic, but they should probably be covered up with clothing to the best of your ability.
There are five items of clothing that are generally considered off limits for court. These items include sleeveless shirts, open-toed shoes, tennis shoes (sneakers), miniskirts, and tight clothing.
An experienced family law attorney can advise you on clean, appropriate clothing for court. If you live in Henry County (or another metro Atlanta County), and you would like more information about how to dress in court for your child custody case, please contact the Family Matters Law Group using our convenient online contact form.