If you are facing divorce, you know child custody proceedings will play a significant part in your case. It may feel like the situation is out of your control because many legal factors may influence the outcome.

However, there are things you can do to help yourself feel more in control. You can start with how you dress for court.

First impressions

You may understandably feel nervous about having to attend court hearings so that a judge can issue a custody order. Still, you likely also want to present your best self to the court to show that you are an upstanding and responsible adult and parent. Having this desire is a good first step because many first impressions last. If you appear in court looking shabby and unprepared, that impression may not sit well with the judge, but if you appear put together, the judge may look at you more favorably.

Dressing do’s and don’ts

Court hearings are not formal affairs in that you should show up in a ball gown or tuxedo. However, they are formal in that you should dress professionally and understand that the situation is a serious one. Clothing items to consider include:

  • Dress shoes
  • Dark pants or skirt
  • Dark, unpatterned dress
  • Collared shirt
  • Dark suit
  • Tie

Inappropriate attire for court includes:

  • Form-fitting or overly-tight clothing
  • Sneakers
  • Short skirts
  • Open-toed shoes or flip-flops
  • Sleeveless shirts

If you worry that you do not have appropriate clothing, you may want to ask a friend or family member to borrow something or even visit thrift stores to purchase secondhand items.

Other ways to feel in control

In addition to the way you dress, you can also take other measures to feel more in control of your situation. You can learn about Virginia laws that may have an impact on your case, and you can build an argument for the child custody arrangement you desire. These actions may feel out of your comfort zone, but you can consult with an attorney who could help you with these and other factors of your case.