The idea of appearing in court to testify in a contested divorce or other family law matter can be terrifying for an involved party. A lot is on the line, including custody of children or property, and a person needs to put their best foot forward, both literally and figuratively. While the family law court system is decidedly more casual than other systems
such as civil litigation or federal courts, it is important that litigants dress in an appropriate manner. Here are some tips for what to wear at a typical contested hearing, whether it’s for a divorce, child custody case, or any other family law issue.
Suit and Tie? Not always necessary
In today’s casual day and age it’s not uncommon for a person to not own a suit. Luckily for family law litigants, a suit is not required when testifying or appearing in court. If you own a suit and it fits nicely then by all means wear it; however, don’t go breaking the bank on a new suit if you don’t currently own one. Business casual can look just as good as a suit. Dresses, slacks, skirts, and dress shirts can all be worn in court without the necessity of a suit jacket.
Put your best foot forward
Open-toed shoes are an absolute no-no. Sandals, flip flops, strappy heels, etc. should all be avoided when dressing for court. The same can be said for shoes more appropriate for the club or the gym. Men should wear dress shoes, loafers, or boots. Women should stick to closed-toed shoes with a sensible heel height.
Save the gun show for outside the courtroom
You do not have the right to bare arms inside the courtroom. Even during the hottest days of a Texas summer, it is not appropriate to wear tank tops to court, even if it is on the dressier side. If you’re a lady and you would like to wear a tank top under a sweater that is okay, but unless you have something to wear over the tank you are likely to be asked to wait outside in the hallway. Cap sleeves for the ladies can sometimes show too much arm, so check with your attorney or the court before you show up to make sure what you are wearing is appropriate.
Profane messages or humorous items of clothing should be avoided
No matter how funny you think your t-shirt is, a judge will not find it amusing. A judge will perceive it as an example of your poor judgment and that is never good for your case.
Don’t wear a hat. Don’t bring a hat. Even if you wear a hat for most of your waking hours, take it off before you head to court. Wearing a hat will be viewed as disrespectful. It will draw the ire of both the court bailiffs and the judge.
Less is More
It can be very difficult for a judge to take pity on a financially destitute party if they are decked out head to toe in Chanel. It can also make the argument of a person who failed to pay child support that they have no money unbelievable if they are wearing a flashy Rolex watch. It’s best to leave obvious brands or expensive accessories at home. Judges (and opposing attorneys) notice what the people in front of them are wearing so make sure to dress simply. Even fake bags or jewelry can give off an appearance that may result in an unfavorable decision toward your case so save the flashy items of clothing for when you are not in court.
Records of family law proceedings are available online in many Texas counties. Divorces are usually a matter of public record and many Texas counties are working to make such records more easily accessible to the general population. The information available online varies by county, but generally case details such as the style of the case and the names of the parties are available. Many counties also provide information regarding court costs, hearing dates, lists of all pleadings, names of attorneys involved, and even images of some court documents, like original petitions for divorce or temporary orders signed by the judge.
Searching online records is a great way to stay informed and up to date on the status of your case. Keep in mind, however, that there is often a delay between when the documents are filed with the court and when the documents appear as images online. Additionally, some records can be sealed at the request of the parties, and some counties do not release certain information during the initial stages of family law proceeding. Remember to check with your lawyer if you have any questions.
Below please find a list of Texas area counties with information regarding how to access family law records in each county.
Texas Family Law & Divorce Court Records:
- Bexar County
- Brazoria County
- Dallas County
- Fort Bend County
- Galveston County
- Harris County
- Montgomery County
- Tarrant County
- Travis County
Presently, we only list a few counties but with your help our goal is to build a complete Texas list. If you find a Texas Family Court Records site please forward to our webmaster at the following email address: email@example.com.
Earlier today our site was down for approximately 4 hours due to a technical issue associated to the server where our website is hosted. On initial report, Godaddy estimated about 1-72 hours to fix this issue. However, they would not release specifics as to the exact cause of the issue. That said, our firm has decided to move to a more reliable hosting provider in the near future.
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09/09/2013 @1:08 PM CST – Website was down for another 15 minutes.
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