A child custody case is often difficult, complicated, and emotional, but there are also several steps that you can take to make the whole process go a little smoother. In order to understand what these steps are it can also help to know what is involved in a child custody case and what the expectations are. The most basic definition of a custody case is where your children live, including physical care, custody, and decision-making power.
Being divorced and going through child custody proceedings can be difficult, but there are ways to ease the load. While you can’t control how your case plays out, there are some things that you can control, such as preparing for your custody hearing. In preparation for your custody hearing, here are six tips to help prepare:
Understanding better parent standard
Child custody is one of the most complex areas of family law. Your primary objective will be to reach an agreement that is best for your child. That does not mean that you have to meet in court when attempting to reach that agreement. A better parent standard is one way to streamline the process.
A parent standard is a legal standard that a judge issues after they hear testimony during custody hearings. The standard is designed to help the judge determine the custody arrangement they prefer based on the child’s best interests.
Understanding State’s Child-Custody Laws
Understand state’s child-custody laws: Some states don’t recognize joint custody, so it’s important to know which laws apply in your county or state. You can refer to your state’s Health Department of social services or other resources.
Every state has child-custody laws. These laws are intended to put the child’s best interest at the heart of the matter when deciding who the child’s main career will be. Although every state’s child-custody laws are different, they all share similar components and ensure, in general, that the child is safe and that, whenever possible, both parents will have an active role in the child’s life.
Right Documents to Court
Child custody battles are serious and can have long-lasting effects on your children. Everyone involved in your case should come prepared. You should bring the right documents to help ensure the court has all the information it needs.
Before going to court for custody of your children, you will want to make a list of all documents, including:
- Your own and your spouse’s financial records,
- Proof of income and other employment,
- Medical information, and any prior custody or divorce documentation.
Bring a complete list of these documents and photos, plus any other important papers and copies of any legal documents or releases you may have signed to your attorney. Your attorney will make sure everything is ready for the judge.
Before your child custody hearing, practice your courtroom etiquette. You need to know if behaviors are appropriate or will be reported to the court. The courts care about how you perform during your custody hearing. They want to know how you react to certain questions or how you deal with your ex. If you behave inappropriately, the judge will not just dismiss it. He might rule against you or even lower child support.
Knowing What to Expect During the Hearing
It’s hard to prepare for your child’s custody hearing—and that’s because it is a very difficult and emotional experience. While there is a list of things on your custody case prep checklist, the other things you should know, like what to expect during the hearing, are just as important. Your lawyer can guide you through this process, but knowing what to expect can make things easier to manage.
Filing for a divorce is a painful and overwhelming experience, but knowing what to expect during the hearing for child custody will help you prepare for it properly. Speak to your attorney about your concerns over child custody and explain the issue you’re worried about in as much detail as possible.
Proper courtroom attire
There will likely be many court appearances, including child custody hearings for parents who are divorcing. During this time, it’s important to dress appropriately to emphasize your credibility as the parent of your minor children.
Suppose you are set to have a child custody hearing to decide who will have custody of the children after a divorce or separation. In that case, the court will expect the parents to dress and act professionally during the proceedings. The parents are expected to follow the court’s dress guidelines in order to show courtesy and respect toward the judge. All parents should be dressed appropriately for court, from jeans and T-shirts or skirts to suits and ties. Either way, the court expects everyone to act appropriately, and everyone needs to show respect for the court proceedings.