How should I dress for family court?

If you’re fortunate, you won’t have to spend much – if any – time in court during your divorce. However, if there’s an issue that you and your spouse can’t resolve with the help of your attorneys, you may need to ask a family court judge to make a decision. The impression you make on the judge can help sway their opinion of you. That includes the way you’re dressed.

For some people, this isn’t a big deal. Whatever you wear to the office may be perfectly appropriate courtroom attire. However, if you’re like millions of people who don’t put on a suit and tie or even “business casual” clothes to work, finding the right look can be a daunting task.

General tips for men and women

A good rule for men is long pants with a belt, a collared, tucked-in shirt and a tie. If you have a suit or blazer, that’s a nice touch.

If you’re a woman, wearing a dress or skirt is fine, as long as it’s knee length or a big longer. Long pants are usually fine. A nice top, blouse or sweater is appropriate as long as it’s not see-through or low-cut.

Ask your attorney what they know about the judge. If they’ve appeared before them, they know if they’re ultra-conservative or have pet peeves you should know about.

Keep in mind why you’re in court. If you’re asking for more alimony or child support (or trying to pay less), leave the Gucci purse or Rolex watch at home –- even if it’s a knock-off.

What not to wear

Obviously, anything too casual or revealing is off-limits – and could get you removed from the courtroom. That means no shorts, sagging pants, halter tops, flip-flops or shirt with the name of your favorite beer, bar, band or political cause.

If you have multiple piercings, take out anything besides perhaps a single pair of earrings. It’s best to keep any jewelry subtle.

If you have tattoos, cover up as many as possible, either with clothing or tattoo cover-up. Make-up and hair styles should also be subtle – or at least not distracting.

If you have any uncertainties about your courtroom look, show it to your attorney before your court date. They can help you select a look that will help you make the case you need to make to the judge and improve your chances of prevailing.