Preparing for a child custody hearing may be one of the most nerve-wracking things that a parent can go through. Sure, appearing before a judge in court is scary—but the scariest thing is not knowing your child’s future. It is a scenario that any mother or father would find intimidating.
Putting your best foot forward in court can influence a child custody decision for years to come. Fortunately, there are a few things that parents can do to prepare for a custody hearing. To make the process less intimidating, we have compiled a list of a few helpful tips that you can use to prepare in advance.
- Research your state’s custody laws
One of the first steps that you should take is researching your state’s child custody laws. By arming yourself with knowledge, you will have a better idea of what to expect when it comes to your custody hearing and the potential custody arrangement. A family law attorney can assist you by providing detailed legal information and answering any questions that you have about the process.
- Come to court prepared
On the big day, you will not want to come to court empty-handed. Long before your custody hearing, you and your attorney should gather all of the documents that you will need. These can include financial documents, your child’s medical records, a visitation schedule and proof of child support payments. The better prepared you are, the better you may fare in court.
- Dress to impress
Part of making the right impression in court is dressing appropriately. Clothing is not the most important thing in life, but you should put extra care into how you dress for the court. Expensive designer clothing is not necessary, but you should still look polished. Dress conservatively, but comfortably.
- Use proper etiquette
No, we don’t mean using the correct salad fork. Courtrooms have an etiquette all their own, and you should brush up on it before your custody hearing. This can include following appropriate procedures, modulating your emotions and maintaining a professional demeanor. Discuss courtroom etiquette with your lawyer so that you can present yourself in the best possible light.