Leave your ripped jeans at home for a child custody hearing

When New York parents are at odds regarding what will be best for their children after divorce, the court often intervenes to make decisions on their behalf. Perhaps you know in your heart that there is good reason for you to request sole physical and legal custody of your kids. The better prepared you are for child custody proceedings, the greater chance you might have of convincing the judge overseeing your case to rule in your favor.

While you’re busy thinking about important issues, such as why your children should live with you on a full-time basis, you might overlook other issues that may also influence the judge’s decision. For instance, what will you be wearing to court on the day of your custody hearing? It’s an important thing to think about.

What clothing matters in a child custody hearing

When you enter a courtroom as a parent in a child custody case, the judge expects a certain etiquette regarding the things you say and do during proceedings. An example of this would be evident in the way you speak, particularly the words and phrases you choose. If you were to use profanity, for instance, it would not go over well in court. Similarly, the way you dress in court matters. The following list includes some helpful tips:

  • Avoid open-toed shoes and high heels.
  • Opting for neutral or darker colors is best because it looks more professional.
  • Men should wear nice pants and a collared shirt with a tie, or, in some cases, a suit may be appropriate.
  • If you imagine what you might wear to an important business meeting, it would likely be an appropriate choice for the courtroom as well.
  • Do not wear any type of clothing that may appear controversial or threatening.
  • You do not want your appearance to be distracting.
  • Casual, conservative styles are good choices.

Many courts have websites that include information regarding dress codes. While there are not New York laws about what you may or may not wear to court, specifically regarding clothing, your goal is to make a good impression and to convince the judge that ruling in your favor is aligned with your children’s best interests.

Poor clothing choices may negatively affect your child custody case

Human beings feel subliminal effects from what they see. When the judge looks at you, you want him or her to know that you take your responsibilities as a parent seriously and are ready to provide for your children’s needs after divorce. If you show up to court in torn jeans, pajama pants, a mini skirt, or are unshaven and disheveled looking, it could hurt your case.

If you’re concerned about clothing choices or other issues regarding courtroom etiquette, you can talk to someone who has been through child custody proceedings in the past. This could be a family member, a close friend or a legal advocate.