Long ago, norms dictated a much higher standard of fashion than exists in society today. Many people are glad that standards have been relaxed, and that people are basically free to wear whatever they want to wear. There are times, though, when poor clothing choices can impede a person’s ability to accomplish his or her goals, such as a job interview or Pennsylvania court proceedings like a child custody case in a divorce.
A person’s appearance makes an impression in court and can influence a judge’s decisions. In a child custody case, a judge determines what is best for the children in question. If a parent looks unkempt, a judge might think — rightly or wrongly — that this would carry over into his or her parenting skills, or lack thereof.
Business casual style is best for a child custody case
It is helpful to think of child custody proceedings as an important business meeting and to dress accordingly. Here are some clothing suggestions that would be appropriate in a courtroom:
- Casual dress shoes with a flat or low heel
- Skirt or dress to the knee or longer
- Trousers or slacks that are neither too baggy nor too tight
- Minimal accessories
In addition to keeping accessories basic and simple, hair should be neatly groomed. A parent who wants to demonstrate competence and confidence will want to avoid plunging necklines, stiletto heels and clothing that stands out because of wild patterns, images or slogans on it.
Check the Pennsylvania court website for a dress code
It is not uncommon for a court to post a dress code on its website. This can alleviate confusion or concern regarding what to wear to a child custody hearing. While an attorney might dress a bit more formally than a plaintiff or defendant, a parent could ask an attorney for recommendations on what to wear or not wear in court.