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Why Proper Attire Matters in Family Court

Saturday, September 10, 2016

When you show up to a Broward County courtroom for the first time, the judge knows nothing about you or the other party beyond what's in written court filings. During a hearing, the parties are generally not permitted to address the judge unless specifically directed to do so. Even in silence, a form of communication with the judge and with all others present is taking place. From the moment the parties enter the courtroom, their appearance speaks volumes.

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Points to consider

Ask yourself:

  • What does my attire say about me?
  • Does my attire demonstrate respect for the court and for myself?
  • Does my attire show that I am taking this process seriously?
  • What impression am I creating?

While impressions are not as important as facts, they do matter. For example, if a client is involved in a dispute over parental responsibility, the moral fitness of each parent is a factor that the court is required to consider pursuant to Florida Statute 61.13. For example, If a party wears a t-shirt to court displaying questionable content, this could create the impression that the client is not morally fit. Mental and physical health are other factors that the court must consider, according to the same statute. If a party dresses in an outlandish, bizarre manner or fails to follow basic rules of personal hygiene, the client's mental or physical health may be called into question.

Business attire or similar

In the 17th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida, where most Broward County clients are likely to have cases heard, business attire is suggested when attending court. It's just a recommendation – likely as an accommodation to those who might not own such clothing – but a client should strive to dress in a way that shows self-respect, personal dignity and the utmost respect for the court.

Appropriate attire for court does not have to be costly or ostentatious. After you have retained a Coral Springs family law attorney, ask him or her for useful suggestions regarding your choice of clothes. All human beings are inevitably influenced to some degree by the personal appearance of others. When involved in a family law court case in Coral Springs, dress like it matters. All other things equal, attire could be the determining factor in your case.

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