It can be a frightening experience for parents to go through a child custody hearing. It can be even worse if you have never been through one and don’t know what to expect. Nevertheless, if you have been able to create a plan ahead of time, you will have a much better chance of winning your child custody hearing. As you and your attorney get to work, make sure to follow these eight steps to getting ready for a child-custody hearing.
1. Become Familiar with the Laws Governing Child-Custody
The laws governing child-custody cases differ from one another. This is why it is important that you become familiar with the laws where your hearing will be taking place. It may seem boring as you read the laws but the more that you understand about them, the more you will understand what to expect.
2. Become Familiar with Your State’s Better-Parent Standard
This standard is used during all child-custody cases where a parent is seeking sole custody of the children. In order to win sole-custody, you must be able to prove and convince the judge that you are the better parent. Often times, proving this is not always easy.
3. Have Proper Documents Ready
As you and your attorney work out the details of your case, make sure to have proper documents ready. Also, inquire about the admissibility of private documents.
As part of the documents to bring, you may be advised to present child-support payment documentation, a schedule of agreed-upon visitations, as well as phone logs proving communication.
4. Practice Proper Etiquette Prior to the Hearing
Having and showing good behavior in the courtroom can be a determining factor during a custody hearing. Have your attorney go over proper etiquette with you so that you will be able to control any outbursts that you may occur. If you want, you can try rehearsing how the hearing may go.
5. Present Yourself Properly
If you want to have the judge view you in a positive manner, then you will need to present yourself properly. This involves being dressed and groomed properly before you walk into the courtroom. The first 5 minutes of the hearing are very crucial to your case because the judge is already forming their opinion about your ability to present yourself properly.
Have your attorney advise you on what to properly wear to court so that your case starts off on a positive note.
6. Show Constant Communication
You need to be aware that all courts take the child’s best interest before all others. This is why it is always a good idea to stay in contact and communicate with your child as often as possible so the judge will see that you also have your child’s best interest in mind too. So whenever you receive some form of communication from your ex-wife or ex-husband, answer it so nothing can be used against you. You can also make a schedule for when calls are to be placed so that the judge sees that both parents are working together.