HOW TO PREPARE FOR COURT
Generally, it is not our job to judge, or to tell someone how to dress, or how to act. But, when you go to court, it becomes my job to tell you your appearance matters. Above all, we do not want your appearance to distract the person determining the facts of your case.
Judges like a clean, well-kept appearance. They feel it shows respect for them and the court system. We recommend that you wear a long-sleeve shirt, especially if you have tattoos. No denim. Many judges also frown on body piercing, especially facial piercing: nose or eyebrow piercing, more than one or two earrings. No tongue rings. Shirts with logos that may be funny or mundane to us may be distracting to a judge. No pot-leaf or playboy bunny emblems. Any hat or cap that you do not remove upon entering the courtroom, as well as putting your hands in your pockets will draw unwanted attention from courtroom security and will make a nervous experience worse for you.
The court is looking for the best possible solution for everyone involved. You need to show the court that you are serious in your responsibilities and are working with the court. To do this, it is best to make eye contact with the person judging the facts of your case. Not staring, but stating your position in a clear and affirmative way. Short, direct answers without unwanted elaboration often work best. Going to court can be an emotional experience. When someone displays excessive crying and/or tempers, it makes them look like they are not mature enough to handle the situation and judges are leery of providing freedoms to someone that cannot handle themselves in an adult-like manner.
Presenting your side:
With your clean appearance and direct answers, the judge will also listen to your side of the events if you do not demean the opposing party in derogatory speak or actions of contempt or hatred. Exaggeration is the same as a lie. If you state: “they missed every visitation” when in fact they missed 60% of the visits you are misleading the court. The court may conclude this was motivated by your interest in the outcome of the case. When you are able to respond to allegations, it can help to leave out name-calling and simply recount the facts you know.