You might think that giving a good impression in a custody hearing is all about how you dress. Turning up looking like you have slept in your clothes or have come straight from dancing in a nightclub till four in the morning will not help your case, but there is no need to dress in a suit either.
Judges may notice your clothes, but there are far more important things to worry about when presenting a good image. Dress comfortably and presentably, then forget about what you wear and focus on what you say and do.
You have one chance to show the judge you are a good parent
Remember that this is your only attempt to show the judge your suitability as a parent. They will not visit your house to see how good you are at making Lego or cooking pancakes. They will base their decision on what they see today unless they have a particular reason to seek external evidence from social workers or the like.
Most judges are parents themselves and understand that parenting can be tough. They want to see that you are a decent human being who can look after your kids and give them the love and attention they need. They are not looking for you to be perfect.
Being civil and respectful to the other parent can go a long way in a hearing. If you act with aggression or react to the other parent’s provocations, a judge is more likely to take their side.
Custody hearings can be stressful, but having help to understand the relevant laws and probable outcomes can help you stay calm. That will make it more likely the judge leaves with a positive impression of you, and you leave with the custody arrangement you seek.