The idea of appearing in court to testify in a contested divorce or other family law matter can be terrifying for anyone. A lot is on the line, possibly custody of children or property, and a person needs to put their best foot forward, both literally and figuratively in learning what to wear to a court hearing or trial.In particular, is the question of what to wear to divorce court. 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 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. When looking through your wardrobe for what to wear to a court hearing, keep in mind 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. Overly casual and revealing clothing are examples of what not to wear to court for a hearing or trial. 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. This is especially important when considering what to wear for divorce court, as your capacity for good judgment is carefully considered for rulings including child custody.
Don’t wear a hat. Don’t bring a hat. If you’re wondering what hat to wear to a court hearing or trial, the answer is none at all. 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, so it’s always best to take careful consideration of what to wear to a court hearing or trial.
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We thank you for taking the time and effort to learn how to best approach your case. If you are in need of a family law expert in the area of Houston, Texas, we would love to represent you. Contact us for your consultation.