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Clothing matters in a child custody case

On Behalf of | Dec 1, 2021 | Child Custody

When you made the decision to file for divorce, you no doubt understood that it would affect your children’s lives. When your spouse made it clear that you were going to be in for a fight regarding child custody issues, you may have worried about what you should do or say to help protect your children’s interests in court. An issue you might not have considered, however, is your clothing choices. What you wear inside a Maryland courtroom makes an impression, which can be good or bad.  

When you stand before a judge in a child custody case, you want to convince him or her that you are a capable parent who will provide a safe and loving environment for your kids and will be able to provide for their needs. Certain types of clothing might make an undesirable impression on the judge.  

Leave the ripped jeans and flip-flops at home 

You might be comfortable in torn jeans and open-toed shoes, and that’s fine, as long as you’re not wearing such clothing to child custody proceedings. If your goal is to present yourself in a professional, respectful manner, it’s best to choose clothing that exemplifies such attributes, which typically doesn’t include jeans with holes in them or sandals that are better suited for the beach.  

What to wear instead 

Think of what you might wear to an important business meeting. This is the type of clothing that is most appropriate for a courtroom, as well. Many people refer to this style as “business casual.” For men, this would include a collared shirt, dark-colored pants, dress shoes and a tie. Women can also wear dress slacks or a skirt, as long as the latter is not too high above the knee.  

A few more things to avoid 

If you’re wearing shoes with a heel, avoid styles that are more than one inch high. Flats or small pump heels work best. Avoid sneakers, sleeveless tops and tight-fitted clothing. It’s also best to steer clear of overly baggy clothing. Don’t wear shirts with sayings or images on them, and avoid patterns, as well.  

Stick with neutral colors and plain fabric that you’d be comfortable wearing in an office setting. Chances are, if you are concerned as to whether a particular outfit is inappropriate for a courtroom, then it probably is. You can always check the website of the court that is holding your child custody proceedings if you’re in doubt. You can likely find a dress code posted there. 

Remember the ultimate goal, and go from there 

Try to put yourself in the judge’s shoes. If you were the judge, what might your impression of your own attire be? Does it help you to appear confident and exude an attitude that shows that you understand the seriousness of the situation? If the answer is “No,” then you might want to reconsider your choices.  

If you want to convince the judge that your children would be best living with you after divorce, make sure that the clothing you wear to court affirms the idea.