Counseling You Through Life's Difficult Times

Child custody: What are you wearing to court?

Like many Maryland spouses, you never could have imagined that you and your partner would one day head for divorce proceedings. Perhaps you were married for several decades or were still awaiting your 10-year anniversary when you determined that things weren’t working out as you’d hoped they would. Either way, it’s understandable that your children’s best interests are your top priority, especially when preparing for child custody litigation.

You’ve probably mulled over many thoughts regarding what your and your children’s needs are and what your ultimate settlement goals will be when you go toe-to-toe in court with your ex during child custody proceedings. While you formulate plans in your mind, it’s a good idea to remember that you’ll want to make a good impression on the judge, and what you wear to court may influence his or her decisions.

You don’t want to be a distraction during child custody proceedings

You might be the type of person who always wants to look his or her best. When heading to court for child custody proceedings, however, remember that you do not want to distract the judge or jury by dressing in a flamboyant manner. The goal is to appear confident in a nonthreatening manner.

Neutral and conservative clothing choices are best

When you enter the courtroom to try to convince a judge or jury that your children would fare best by living with you after divorce, you want your appearance to convey this message as well as what you say and do during proceedings. Good clothing choices for the courtroom include neutral-colored items and clothing that fits a casual business style.

Choose clothes that fit, and minimize accessories

The goal is to present an overall appearance that suggests you’ve got your act together and are capable of being the primary caretaker of your children. It’s best to avoid overly tight-fitting clothing, plunging necklines or pants that are too long or too short. Also, while it may be appropriate to wear glasses or a simple piece of jewelry, such as a watch, tie clasp or necklace, it’s best to keep accessories and cosmetics to a minimum.

Check out the court’s website

Many courts in Maryland and other states routinely post dress code information on their websites. It’s helpful if you check to see if the court that is hearing your child custody case has published such information. You can use these recommendations as a guideline for choosing what you will wear to court.

The judge overseeing your child custody case will undoubtedly pay attention to much more than the outfit you wear to court. However, when your goal is to convince the court that you are the best parent for the job, it doesn’t hurt to use clothing choices to your advantage.