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Family law court: What to wear and how to act

If you're in the throes of a Texas family law dispute, you'll be facing a lot of unknowns. That's why you'll want a skilled family law attorney by your side to guide you along every step of the way. One thing, in particular, that you should ask your lawyer about is courtroom decorum. More specifically, what should you wear and how should you act?

When you go in front of a judge, you'll want to dress in appropriate attire. This means that you should only wear pressed, clean clothes that look neat and orderly. Men should wear pants, a collared shirt and a suit. Women should wear a skirt, dress, suit or pants -- but they shouldn't be too tight or revealing. Don't even think about wearing a t-shirt, shorts, sunglasses or hats in a Texas courtroom: they're not allowed. You should also avoid too much makeup, too much jewelry and over-the-top hairstyles.

As for how you should behave, give full respect to the judge and other courtroom personnel. When entering the courtroom, be sure to silence any electronic devices that could create noise unexpectedly. You're not permitted to eat, chew gum or drink beverages in the courtroom. Furthermore, you mustn't bring in newspapers, magazines or other reading material. When the judge is present, you're not permitted to write notes, whisper or talk to others unless it's your attorney who is addressing you directly.

When you're speaking before the court, speak politely, clearly and with sufficient volume so others can hear you. Your responses to court questions need to be verbal. A nod of the head is not sufficient. Always answer the judge by addressing him or her with Your Honor, Ma'am or Sir. Never interrupt the judge.

There are other important rules of family courtroom decorum that you will want to learn before going before a Texas judge. Be sure to discuss these and other issues with your criminal defense lawyer before your legal proceedings commence.

Source: Texas Young Lawyers Association, "What to Expect in Texas Family Law Court," accessed June 21, 2017

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