Dissolution of marriage or a divorce can be a trying experience, however, if children are involved then simply the idea of losing custody of your children can be a terrifying thought. The primary factor that any judge will consider when determining custody is the child’s best interest. The behavior exhibited by parents during a custody proceeding may influence the judge’s decision on the issue of custody and parenting time. By displaying appropriate behavior in court you can demonstrate that your child’s best interest lies with you. Attending a child custody hearing for the first time can be a scary prospect especially for parents who are unfamiliar with the due process involved. However, with some proper planning there are some factors which can help you in presenting a convincing case in order to mitigate your child custody case. Working with a qualified and experienced child custody attorney is a must but the additional steps you can take to present you case in a clear and convincing light are:
It is important to be aware of the fact that child custody laws vary from state to state. Therefore, it is imperative that you become familiar with the child custody laws in the state where your child custody proceedings are being held. Getting into the fine details of such laws can be a tedious task but it can and will greatly assist you in finding out for yourself what you’re up against prior to attending the hearing.
Understanding the Better Parent Standard In Custody Cases
In cases where a parent requests sole custody, the better parent standard is employed to determine whether the request should be approved or denied. This requires the parent petitioning for sole custody to convince the judge that they are better than the other parent which is often extremely difficult to prove. It is advisable to research the criteria that the court consider in determining a better parent and to consult your lawyer on how to prove yourself to be the better parent in the household.
Understanding Document Requirements In A Custody Case
It is vital that you consult with your Family law attorney in order to determine the documents that the court requires you to bring to a child custody hearing and whether any personal records are admissible as evidence. The documents that are commonly required by a court in a child custody hearing may include a detailed phone log, an annotated visitation schedule, proof of child support payments as well as other information.
Adhering To Proper Courtroom Etiquette
When attending child custody hearings it is of immense importance that parents behave appropriately in court. Your lawyer should discuss proper courtroom etiquette with you in order for you to get a better understanding of what is expected in such a proceeding as well as the pitfalls you need to avoid. It may be helpful to conduct a mock hearing with your attorney and rehearse in advance, if possible in order to make sure you understand proper courtroom etiquette prior to your court appearance.
Dress Appropriately For A Child Custody Hearing
In order for a parent to win a child custody case, it is vital that they make a positive first impression on the judge. Proper courtroom attire is of critical importance and should never be overlooked under any circumstances. The first impression is the last impression as the saying goes meaning you only get one chance to make that good first impression on the judge before he hears your case. It is possible that he or she might form an opinion of you merely based on your appearance in court. Discuss the appropriate courtroom attire with your attorney and make sure that you present yourself in the very best light in front of a judge.
If you are involved in a divorce case and expect to be involved in a child custody case as well, the best thing you can do is to contact an experienced child custody lawyer to help you protect your parental rights.
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