Divorce often requires a series of meetings to determine custody, support, and the division of property and assets. There are several meetings that take place before you get a final divorce decree, even if you opt for an alternative dispute resolution process like mediation. The impression that you make at these meetings can have a strong impact on your results. Superficial decisions, like the clothes you wear or your posture, can influence your ability to negotiate from a place of power.

Review this list of dos and don’ts for dressing for mediation:

DON’T Take Your Appearance Lightly

Per Psychological Science, “a series of experiments by Princeton psychologists Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov reveal that all it takes is a tenth of a second to form an impression of a stranger from their face, and that longer exposures don’t significantly alter those impressions (although they might boost your confidence in your judgments).”

In a mediation meeting, you want to communicate that you’re organized, responsible and capable. This means clean hair, light makeup for women, and (generally) a clean-shaven appearance for men. Your clothing should be neat and unwrinkled.

DO Go Business Casual

Mediation is a business meeting. You and your spouse are negotiating important matters about your children, your finances and your life. Dress business casual to set the tone that you are peaceful and effective. Show up looking like your opinion matters.

DON’T Skip Common Sense

Avoid arriving late, coming to the meeting after drinking or working out, or dressing provocatively (e.g. to make your ex jealous). Don’t let your clothes or your overall appearance or demeanor distract from the work at hand.

DO Come Prepared

Consult with an experienced Minnesota divorce attorney before the mediation. The clearer you understand the process—and what you want from it—the easier it will be to behave naturally. Our qualified team can help you work through the process to get the results you need. Please get in touch today for a confidential consultation.

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Photo of Jason C. Brown Jason C. Brown

Jason Brown is a founding shareholder with the Brown Law Offices, P.A., a northwest Twin Cities divorce and family law firm. He is an honors graduate of Minnesota State University, Mankato, and the William Mitchell College of Law. Jason has been recognized as

Jason Brown is a founding shareholder with the Brown Law Offices, P.A., a northwest Twin Cities divorce and family law firm. He is an honors graduate of Minnesota State University, Mankato, and the William Mitchell College of Law. Jason has been recognized as a “Super Lawyer” by Thomson Reuters. Media appearances include WCCO Radio, KARE 11 Television, the Star Tribune, USA Today, Time Magazine, Minnesota Monthly and NBC News.