What should I wear to court for divorce?


What should I wear to court for divorce?

When dressing for court, choose standard business attire. Think Sunday best, not casual Friday. Choosing proper courtroom attire is similar to power dressing for a job interview or promotion. First impressions are equally important in court. Take divorce hearings and appearances seriously, maybe up your game a little. Male or female, a two-piece or three-piece suit is a professional look that impresses inside and outside the courtroom, although there are other options.

Divorce proceedings can be stressful and restrictive clothing does not help. Avoid nervously tugging at a tight collar by choosing something comfortable that allows movement. Test run the power suit by looking in the mirror and reflecting on what the judge, attorneys, and other spouse will see. What impression will you make?

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Dressing too casually runs the risk of appearing disorganized and careless. Do not wear athletic clothing – no work-out clothes, no yoga pants or shorts, no T-shirts or tank tops, no hoodies or sweatpants. Don’t dress in anything revealing or risqué. Avoid clothes that are skin-tight or see-through, have a plunged neckline or exposed midriff, are very short or slit to the thigh, or allow undergarments to show. Don’t wear jeans, coveralls, or overalls. Don’t wear flip-flops or athletic shoes. Absent a medical condition, take the sunglasses off, too. Always err on the side of dressing more conservatively.

What to wear to court for a male?

photo: perry mason tv

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Men wear dress pants or slacks belted at the waist. Choose khaki pants or tailored slacks over shorts and jeans. Wear a long-sleeved, button-down shirt with a collar and put on a tie. Slip on a blazer, sport coat, or suit coat. Put on a pair of oxfords, loafers, dress boots, or dress shoes.

Regardless of personal style, make a conscious effort to dress well but with restraint. This is an opportunity to convince the court of the merits of your case and veracity of your testimony. Even Mark Zuckerberg, the man of a thousand gray T-shirts, wears a suit and tie when testifying before Congress.

What should a mom wear to court for child custody?

When appearing before the judge in a child custody proceeding, Mom should wear a blouse or shirt paired with a skirt or tailored pants. Add a matching blazer for a finished office look. Flats or heels are fine, but avoid stilettos. A nice dress is always acceptable and may be more comfortable (no bare shoulders, though). Do not wear a hat or head covering unless for religious reasons.

Dressing appropriately for court – appearing neat, clean, and comfortable while wearing the right colors – shows respect for the judge and the proceedings. You want everyone in the courtroom to take your position on child custody seriously and show, also, that you deserve fair and respectful treatment as the child’s parent.

Jewelry, Piercings, Makeup, and Hair Color in the Courtroom

Wearing flashy jewelry to court can send the wrong message. Don’t wear jewelry that makes noise either – clunky bracelets and long chains can be distracting and annoying. Coordinate a few pieces with your outfit. A woman may wear a wrist watch, earrings, and a necklace. Keep it simple. Don’t give the judge more things to look past.

What about wearing piercings to court?

When possible, remove jewelry from piercings in the tongue, nose, cheek, and elsewhere on the face. Try covering or disguising large piercings. Earrings in or out, stretched earlobe holes make a statement. Don’t wear heavy make-up. Don’t color hair pink, purple, green, or blue. Be conservative. Tone everything down and go for a more natural look.

Courtroom appearances are not about making a fashion statement or political point, both of which could backfire in a divorce. Instead, demonstrate an ability to pull yourself together under pressure and look the part of a mature, reasonable adult with legitimate concerns and credible opinions.

What should a dad wear to court for child custody?

Dad has every incentive to dress appropriately for a child custody hearing that will impact his relationship with a son or daughter. From head to toe, Dad would do well to wear a dark blue or gray suit, collared long-sleeved shirt, inoffensive tie, dress pants or tailored slacks, proper socks, and polished dress shoes to court appearances. Finish outfitting with minimal jewelry without being garish. Wearing a few items of jewelry to a child custody hearing is acceptable, but limit choices to a wrist watch, cuff links, tie clip, and one ring.

Coming to court directly from work?

With the exception of religious dress, change out of any restaurant, service, medical or other uniform before entering the courtroom. Don’t wear pants that refuse to stay up where they belong (when underwear shows, the pants don’t fit). Unless required to remain in uniform, parents in law enforcement and the military may want to consider switching into civilian clothing before entering a courtroom environment.

Visualize two parents standing before the judge. Having come directly from work, one is dressed in a delivery driver’s uniform with scuffed work shoes. The other is dressed in a tailored two-piece suit looking fresh, neat, and prepared. Who has made the best first impression?

Cover Tattoos in Court

For those who have arm tattoos, wearing a long-sleeve shirt and sport coat should be sufficient cover. Is the neck tattooed? Button the collar to the top and wear a necktie or scarf. Tattoos are designed to draw attention and will be noticed by the judge and forensic child custody evaluator. Planning a tattoo? Either wait until after the divorce decree or consider discreet placement where it can be easily covered.

Best color to wear to court for a female?

Candace Peeples

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Women should stick with neutral colors when choosing what to wear to court. The same goes for men. When picking colors, dark gray and navy blue are always safe choices. Tan slacks could be paired with a brown or blue sport coat. Black slacks with a white blouse is fine, too. There is no benefit to wearing neon colors or zany patterns. Doing so risks distracting everyone in the courtroom from the business at hand.

Colors I should avoid wearing to court for divorce?

There is some psychology to color selection. However, the judge is interested in the parties’ adult presence and demeanor, not fashion trend. What you wear should have a positive impact on everyone in the courtroom. The opposite is achieved, consciously or subconsciously, with loud clothing that is off-putting, such as an orange T-shirt with rude message. Neon colors are too bright and intense, making them very distracting.

Some colors are believed to evoke predictable responses in the wearer and other people, but dressing in bright yellow to “put the judge in a good mood” would be a wasted effort. Pastel colors can also be distracting when worn to court. Stick with subdued over gregarious, such as ivory and white over hot pink and neon green. Choose delicate, subtle patterns over bold, bright ones – avoid strong plaids and giant polka dots. Make a positive statement in the courtroom by dressing professionally. After all, it’s only one day and there is much at stake.

 

About 

Memphis divorce attorney and family lawyer, Miles Mason, Sr. JD, CPA founded the Miles Mason Family Law Group, PLC. The firm practices divorce and family law only representing clients living in Memphis, Germantown, Collierville, Bartlett, Eads, Shelby Co., Fayette Co. Tipton Co., and the surrounding west Tennessee area. For more information, see our Meet the Team page.

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