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Preparing for a child custody case? Clothing choices matter

If you're one of the many Maryland parents headed to court regarding child-related issues in divorce, you might be feeling anxious or stressed and worried about the potential outcome of your case. Like all good parents, you only want what's best for your kids. If your ex disagrees about what that might be, you could be in for a legal battle. During child custody proceedings, you want the judge overseeing your case to decide that your children would be best off living with you. 

Your appearance can influence the judge's decision for better or worse. For instance, if you were to show up in court looking disheveled or unclean, it's not likely to convince the judge that you would be taking good care of your children when your own appearance looks poorly attended to. There are several things to keep in mind regarding clothing choices and court proceedings that may help you make a good impression as a parent. 

Think of your child custody case like a business meeting

You might be thinking that wearing blue jeans and a trendy shirt would show the judge that you can relate to your kids, especially if they are teenagers. However, such attire might create an impression that you aren't taking proceedings seriously or don't really care about the outcome. It's best to enter a courtroom as though you're going to an important business meeting. 

Clothing that distracts from proceedings or causes someone to feel threatened, such as tee shirts with aggressive sayings on them, is not a good choice. Instead, you'll want to opt for neutral tones, such as black, navy blue, or beige and a conservative yet professional looking style. It's also best to avoid stiletto heels if you're a woman or pants hanging below the waistline if you're a man. 

Check out the court's website ahead of time

You might be able to find a dress code listed on the court's website. It's a good idea to check for this ahead of time so you know exactly what is expected of you. It's also helpful to speak with someone who has been through child custody proceedings in the past. Perhaps you have a trusted friend or a close family member who can tell you about his or her experience and what worked or didn't work as far as clothing choices are concerned. 

Remember what your goals are

When you appear in court for child custody proceedings, you are basically trying to convince the judge that you're the better parent. The court always has children's best interests in mind when ruling on custody issues. If you walk into court wearing ripped jeans or over-the-top accessories or makeup, it might not have a positive influence on the judge. 

Try to put yourself in the judge's position and analyze your clothing choices as though you were sitting in the judge's seat looking out at two parents who both want sole custody of their children. Choose an outfit that you think would make a good impression.

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