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What to Wear to Divorce Court

What to Wear to Divorce Court

Fairly or not, people are judged by their appearance.  This couldn’t be truer when going to court: it is in your best interest to put your best foot forward with the judge by taking care with your appearance.  First impressions are lasting impressions and the way that you appear in court will speak volumes to the judge: a poor first impression could very well undermine your case.

You don’t have to wear fancy, expensive clothing, but you do need to take heed of a few tips on what to wear since that can go a long way toward making a good impression with the judge.  Keep the focus on the legal arguments at hand rather than your appearance by following these tips:

  • Hygiene.  Hygiene.  Hygiene. – Cleanliness is very important.  It signals the judge that you respect him and his courtroom.  Be sure to shower, shave and comb your hair.  If your hair is long, put it neatly into a pony tail.  Take care not to reek of cigarette smoke or alcohol, and be sure to take it easy on the cologne too.  First impressions really do matter.  You want the judge to view you as someone who is clean cut and honest.  Someone worthy of respect.
  • Dress appropriately – You don’t need to go out and buy a brand new suit, but you should dress appropriately and professionally.  This means wearing clean, pressed clothing that fits.  If you don’t own a suit, a pair of dress slacks paired with a dress shirt can go a long way toward making a good impression.  And if you are trying to plead poverty, wearing designer clothes and expensive jewelry is definitely going to send the wrong signal to the judge.
  • Leave the accessories at home – Take the earring out of your ear and cover up your body art tattoos whenever possible. Remove any face piercings and leave them at home too.  Don’t wear flashy or expensive jewelry – it will only give the impression that you have lots of money for child support or to share with your soon to be ex-spouse.
  • Turn your cell phone off – mute your phone and keep it in your pocket.  Do not pull it out to text, check your messages or to surf the internet.  This may send the wrong message to the judge and signal that you are disinterested in the proceedings.  If you have to make a call, quietly excuse yourself and go out into the hallway.  Be sure to keep the call brief and get back into the courtroom as quickly as possible.

The judge is going to make some very important decisions about you, your children and your resources and you have but one chance to make a good first impression.  Exercise common sense, good taste, and discretion in your clothing and jewelry choices.  This can keep distractions to a minimum and prevent you from creating a negative impression on the judge.