Top 5 Ways to Prepare for Your Child Custody Battle
A child-custody hearing can be very stressful. The fate of your children and your future relationship with them rests on the outcome of this hearing, and you are appealing to a room full of strangers. You don’t know what their perspective will be, what they will want to know, and what will persuade them. You may feel completely helpless.
Working with an experienced child custody lawyer can help you enormously. Your lawyer will prepare you for what will happen and will help you understand all the legal issues related to your case. Your attorney will also argue for your best interests in court, taking some of the pressure off you to be persuasive.
Here are five things you can do to feel better prepared for your child custody hearing:
Learn about Child Custody Laws
Every state has its own laws governing child custody. For example, many states now look at what is in the best interests of the child when determining custody, and most agree that having equal time with both parents are in a child’s best interests. Gone are the days that mothers automatically are granted primary custody – in fact, gone are the days that we recognize the notion of “primary custody.”
This isn’t true in every state, of course. It’s just become the norm in most places. You need to talk with your lawyer about what the child custody laws are in your state so that you have a better idea of how to create a winning strategy.
Understand the Best Interests of the Child
You may think that it’s harmful to your child that their dad feeds them too much sugar, and you want to use that argument to show it’s not in your child’s best interests to spend a lot of time at dad’s house. But the courts are unlikely to agree that that’s a compelling argument. Instead, they are going to look at all the factors affecting the child, both now and into the future. Your personal preferences or parenting philosophies are unlikely to play a role.
Learn how the courts are going to interpret what is in the best interests of the child by talking through the issues with your lawyer. You will then be able to focus on the things that the courts consider most important so that you have a better chance of achieving your goals in the case.
Bring the Right Documents
You may need to bring certain documents as evidence for your claims. Some examples can include phone logs, receipts or account statements showing payment of child support, or school records showing absences or tardies. You can use these things as evidence about whether a parent is living up to his or her responsibilities toward the child.
Know that your own notes may not be sufficient evidence, including a journal or log you may have created. Talk to your attorney about what evidence will be most helpful.
Learn Proper Etiquette
Child custody hearings can get emotionally charged, but you have to be careful the way you respond to the proceedings. You can’t speak out of turn, you can’t raise your voice, and you can’t use certain language. You can do some role playing with your lawyer to prepare yourself for certain scenarios so that you will respond better.
You should also dress appropriately for court. Dress like you would for a job interview. You are trying to make a good impression on the judge, just as you would a prospective employer. Dress the part.
Know What to Expect
You can feel less stressed and anxious about your child custody hearing by learning what to expect from the proceedings. You should know that these hearings do not typically take place in front of a judge, and they are usually much calmer and drier than what you see on TV. Instead, your attorney will present the facts, including evidence, and the judge will review it and make an immediate decision. So, put your focus on preparing the information before the hearing for the best outcome.
A child custody hearing can be very stress-inducing, but it doesn’t have to be if you work with the right attorney and you know what to expect. Taking these steps will help you feel more at ease when you go into your hearing, which will only improve your chances of reaching the desired outcome.
My AZ Lawyers can help you prepare for your child custody hearing in Arizona and help put together a case that will increase the likelihood of you getting the share of child custody that you want. We can help you with a new child custody case or with modifying a previous child custody order. Our experienced child custody lawyers can help you understand Arizona’s child custody laws, how they apply to your case, and how to build the best argument for getting the custody arrangement you want. Call us today to talk with an Arizona child custody lawyer and start building your case.
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