What to Wear to Family Court
If you want to make a good impression on the judge, you need to treat the court with respect. That means turning off your cell phone, speaking only when it is your turn, and refraining from theatrics. The way you dress is an important part of how you make an impression, and the judge will remember you if you appear in court dressed inappropriately.
If you want the judge to think you are mature and responsible enough to take care of your children, make sure you look the part. You may believe that how you look doesn’t matter, but if you want to win your child custody case, you should show the judge that you know how to look and act like a responsible adult. Here are some tips for dressing for court.
General Dress Rules
Even if you don’t have very much money, you can present yourself well to the court. If you need help achieving the look you want, don’t feel embarrassed to ask a friend for help. If you don’t own the right kind of clothing, you can purchase appropriate items at a thrift shop. The judge already knows how much money you make and how you earn a living because of your child support worksheet. The judge doesn’t expect you to wear designer clothing or spend a month’s worth of income on court clothes, but you should be able to look professional, financially secure, and mature. Here are some general dress rules:
- Dress for the weather. You don’t want your first impression to be that you don’t know what to wear for outside conditions. The judge will assume you don’t know how to dress your children appropriately either.
- You cannot wear a hat in the courtroom. There are rare exceptions, usually for medical reasons.
- The more conservative, the better. If you have tattoos, cover them. If you have brightly colored hair, try covering it or at least wearing it in a neat hairstyle.
- Think of your goal as business appropriate. Could you wear this outfit to a business or office setting?
- Wear dark clothing. Bright colors are festive and not really right for child custody court.
Tips for Women
- Your goal is to look professional. Some women make the mistake of trying to dress provocatively. They wear tight or see-through clothing and act flirtatious in the courtroom. The judge will consider that kind of behavior incredibly disrespectful.
- Find clothes that fit appropriately and alter them if necessary. You can make temporary alterations with safety pins or a quick sewing kit. Clothing that needs to be constantly adjusted will be distracting.
- Wear flats or low heels so you can be comfortable during a long court hearing. Whatever you do, don’t wear high heels or flip-flops. The noise of these shoes is very noticeable in an otherwise quiet courtroom.
- Choose a dress, a skirt and blouse set, or a slacks and blouse set. Women have a lot of clothing choices compared to men. If you choose a skirt or dress, wear something that is at least knee length.
- Don’t wear clothing that exposes a lot of skin. It can be incredibly uncomfortable after a day in a temperature-controlled courtroom.
Tips for Men
- Even though men have fewer choices, they may have an easier time dressing for court. The judge will expect men to wear either a suit or a nice pair of slacks with a dress shirt and blazer.
- Wear clothing that fits properly. Don’t wear saggy pants or a big, loose shirt. Wear a belt or suspenders if you need to.
- Don’t wear anything that has controversial colors, symbols, or words.
Ask Your Lawyer to Help
Once you have chosen your court outfit, feel free to ask your lawyer for approval. At Setzer Law Firm, we understand that most people spend very little time in court. While attorneys spend a great deal of their time in the courtroom speaking with the judge, we understand how intimidating it can be for people unfamiliar with the court system. We are happy to help you prepare for court so that you are comfortable and make the right impression.
The judge doesn’t get much time to get to know you. It may seem unfair, but you have a very short time to make a first impression. The judge doesn’t want you to pretend you’re something you’re not, but you are more likely to win your case if the judge thinks you are mature and respectful. Dress is just one aspect of that. If you need help with a child custody case in Southlake or any other city in DFW, please call one of our compassionate attorneys at Setzer Law Firm today.