Why courtroom attire matters in a child custody case


You undoubtedly never imagined that you’d one day be standing in a courtroom hoping the judge overseeing your case will grant you primary custody of your children. In fact, like many Texas parents who are navigating divorce, you likely expected your marriage to last a lifetime. Especially if you’ve never been part of legal proceedings before, you might be feeling nervous and worried about what to say, how to act, or even what to wear to court for a child custody case.

You’re making an impression when you stand before a judge

As a parent, you’ve probably taught your children not to judge people by their appearance. At the same time, you’ve likely also explained to them that first impressions matter and that the way a person presents himself or herself to someone may influence the other person, especially in situations such as a job interview or court proceedings. The following list includes characteristics and behaviors you’ll want to exude in court if your goal is to win primary custody of your children:

  • Try to appear confident.
  • Show that you are mentally stable.
  • Let the court know you can provide for your children.
  • Act as you would at an important business meeting.
  • Show respect for the judge and the process.
  • Demonstrate capability to fulfill all responsibilities.

The judge will be paying close attention to you and your ex during child custody proceedings. If you have requested primary custody of your kids, it’s the judge’s job to determine if that would be best for their well-being. If you appear sloppy, nonchalant or disrespectful, it’s unlikely you’ll convince the court to grant your request to be the primary custodial parent of your children.

Keep these clothing tips in mind when heading to court

It’s always a good idea to review the court’s website to see if there is a published dress code online. The issues mentioned in the next list may help you determine what would or wouldn’t be appropriate attire to wear to court in a child custody case:

  • Neutral colors with earth tones are better than vibrant hues or complex patterns.
  • A courtroom is no place for spiked heels or plunging necklines.
  • Wearing glasses instead of contact lenses is okay and often gives an appearance of intelligence.
  • Avoid baggy or torn clothing.
  • Minimize accessories and cosmetics.
  • A business casual style is always best.

If your ex shows up looking as though he or she is attending an important business meeting and you walk in wearing ripped jeans with five piercings in each ear, you may not be making an impression that will help you win a child custody case.

A Texas family court judge focuses on children’s well-being when determining whether a parent should have primary custody of his or her kids. Trying to imagine yourself in the judge’s position may help you determine what type of clothing may or may not be appropriate during proceedings.

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