You spent six months picking out your wedding dress. Now it’s two hours before your divorce hearing and a nice comfortable jogging suit seems just fine. Before you throw on any old thing and head to the courthouse, remember that appearance is a critical factor in any legal proceeding.
Often a divorce hearing becomes a legal evaluation of both the circumstances and the individuals involved. How you present yourself could be important, especially in equitable distribution states where a judge’s personal opinion weighs heavily on the final decision.
Here are some quick tips to help you make the best impression:
1. Dress the Part:
Equality in Marriage Institute encourages all individuals to be an active, responsible manager of their divorce. If you think of the process as a business, you are the CEO. Dress accordingly. Business wear is preferable. Remember, you want to look just as prepared and professional as the legal team by your side.
2. Quiet in the Courtroom:
A courtroom is a formal, often solemn, place of business. Loud colors, flashy patterns or exaggerated accessories easily stand out against a traditional courtroom’s more muted backdrop. Men should play it safe by sticking with traditional “power suit colors” like navy blue, black or gray. These choices, as well as more subdued pastels, are also recommended for women.
3. Look Good…But Not That Good:
Even if you are ready to hit the dating scene again, the courtroom is not a good place to start. Avoid clothing that is too revealing. Research shows that a well-groomed, stylish appearance can have a positive influence on first impressions. Balance looking good against going too far.
4. Forget the Family Jewels:
Financial matters are typically a major part of the divorce proceedings. Entering the courtroom with more glitter than the Academy Award’s red carpet isn’t the best idea. Let the judge make decisions about your financial status and needs based on the legal documentation and not your wristwatch. Again, chose jewelry and accessories that are professional and tasteful but not gaudy or overstated.
5. Think About It:
While an unpleasant thought, court is about being judged. Think about the characteristics you as an individual need to exude to support your case (parental, responsible, trustworthy, etc.) and create a look that relays these messages.