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Dress for Success: The Best Ways to Present Yourself in Court

You have enough to worry about when it comes to your divorce, so what you wear on a daily basis is the likely one of the last things on your mind. Trust us, we get it. But when it comes time to go to court, what you wear will make a big impact. Read on to discover the best ways to present yourself in court.

The Importance of Professionalism

The way you present yourself in front of a Judge shows your respect, or lack thereof, for the court. First impressions matter, and while a Judge can’t hold theirs against you, it is important to make a great first impression.

A good rule of thumb is to act professionally. A number of our clients express anxiety over appearing in front of a Judge for the first time. We like to help alleviate their fears by telling them to pretend they are meeting with their boss. Treat the Judge like you would your boss, or other authority figure, and you’ll be fine. Be polite, kind, and courteous. Remember: when in doubt, just be nice! It’s as simple as that.

The Do’s and Don’ts of What to Wear

Now, a big part of making a great first impression has to do with what you wear and how you present yourself. In the vein of remaining professional while in the courtroom, you should make sure you dress appropriately. Dressing professionally doesn’t necessarily mean you need to wear a suit, but you should take care to make sure you’re pulled together for the big day.

The Do’s and Don’ts for Women:

  • Do wear office appropriate slacks, skirts, dresses, blazers, or sweaters
  • Don’t wear too many bright patterns or prints, keep these pieces to a minimum
  • Do make sure your clothes are ironed or steamed
  • Don’t wear sneakers, casual sandals, or slippers (flats are fine!)
  • Do make sure your hair is groomed, and makeup kept neutral
  • Don’t wear a lot of jewelry- too many bracelets or necklaces can be distracting

The Do’s and Don’ts for Men:

  • Do wear slacks with a button down shirt and tie, you can skip the jacket if you want
  • Don’t wear faded or ripped jeans, shorts, or t-shirts
  • Do wear loafers, dress shoes, or sleek boots
  • Don’t use an excessive amount of aftershave or cologne (you never know who is allergic)
  • Do make sure your facial hair neat, and your hair brushed- long hair should be tied back

Mind Your Body Language

Avoid this body language while in court!Let’s assume you’ve taken our advice so far. Your clothes are pressed, you have practiced your pleasantries, and you’re ready for your day in court. Don’t unconsciously sabotage your time in the courtroom by having confrontational or suspicious body language.

Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. We instinctively try to protect ourselves in uncomfortable situations. We do this by crossing our arms, scowling, shoving our hands in our pockets, or appearing disinterested. Be aware of your body language, and make an effort to appear poised. Sit up straight, and fold your hands on the table or place them in your lap. Don’t play with your phone or fidget with a pen.

Preparing for a court appearance takes a lot of work, and learning how to present yourself in front of a Judge is just part of the process. For more information on what you can expect to happen during your divorce or custody trial, contact Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C., New York’s family law powerhouse. We are one of the most trusted names in NYC when it comes to divorce and child custody matters. Let our experience work for you, call 718-875-7584 to schedule your free consultation today.

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