Photo of Professionals at McCoy Fatula, APC
Photo of Professionals at McCoy Fatula, APC

Dress for success in child custody proceedings

On Behalf of | Jun 18, 2023 | Child Custody

If you’re going to enter a California courtroom to request sole custody of your children in a divorce, you’ll want to make a positive impression on the judge. It’s a time when everything you do and say will be under close monitoring and will have an impact on the ultimate outcome in your case. If you believe that your children are better off in your care than your ex’s, you must convince the court as well. The type of clothing you wear to child custody proceedings is important. 

A courtroom is a public yet formal setting. If you want to convince a judge that you are a fit and capable parent who has a legitimate reason for wanting sole legal and physical custody of your children, your appearance, attitude and behavior must support your intentions. 

Get your courtroom attire right the first time 

Be aware that a family court judge can instruct you to exit the courtroom if he or she determines that your clothing is inappropriate for child custody proceedings. The following list includes basic courtroom clothing tips that can help you avoid problems:  

  • Maintain a neat, clean and professional appearance. If you wouldn’t wear it to a job interview or important meeting, don’t wear it to court. 
  • Flat or low-heeled shoes are better than spiked or stiletto heels. 
  • Avoid clothing that is tight-fitting or overly baggy.  
  • Research what business casual attire looks like and choose similar clothing. 
  • Avoid crop tops, ripped jeans, flip-flop sandals, sleeveless shirts and clothing with graphics or text on it. 
  • Do not wear a hat inside a courtroom. 

An unkempt appearance is not going to help you win a child custody case. Even if you don’t normally dress up for work or in your daily life, it’s best to present yourself as a confident, capable parent when you are standing before a judge asking for custody of your children in a divorce. 

Additional information to keep in mind when you’re headed to court 

It’s best to enter a California courthouse empty-handed. However, if you are carrying a pocketbook or knapsack, etc., know that security guards will screen your items with an x-ray device to check for weapons. You’re allowed to have your cell phone during child custody proceedings, but you may not photograph or record proceedings or anything inside the courtroom without permission. 

If you violate courthouse regulations, not only might the judge confiscate your personal property, but he or she may also hold you in contempt of court. In short, if you want to win a child custody case, make sure your manner of dress, speech and behavior in court is conducive to achieving your goal.  

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