Going to a child custody hearing can be unsettling and downright frightening. If this is your first experience with something of this nature, you probably don’t know what to expect and how to act. Fortunately, our Southern California family lawyers can offer a few tips on how you can prepare yourself for your custody hearing. Preparing will ease your nerves and set you up for a better resolution.
With a little time and effort, you can set yourself up for success at your child custody hearing:
1. Read up on California’s child custody laws and procedures. You can find a lot of helpful information online, but make sure you’re getting it from reputable sources. The Basics of Custody & Visitation Orders by the Judicial Branch of California has a lot of useful information explained in layman’s terms.
2. If sole custody is your goal, make sure you understand what the court will be looking for in determining which parent will be the best caregiver for your child or children. You should also talk to your attorney about whether this is a realistic option, as most judges will try to keep both parents involved (if this is in the best interests of the child).
3. Work with your lawyer to make sure you bring all appropriate documentation to the hearing. You also need to ensure what you bring is admissible, such as personal records. This might include written agreements about custody or support, proof of child support payments, and other relevant notes.
4. Be sure to dress and act according to proper courtroom etiquette. It may be a child custody hearing and not a full-blown trial, but the things you say and do can still affect the outcome of your case. Talk to your attorney and even engage in some role-playing if needed, so you know what to say, what not to say, what to wear, and how to act. You only have one chance to make a first impression on the judge who will be hearing your case. Make sure it’s a good one!
5. Know what to expect. Did you know that child custody hearings are not presented in front of a jury? Did you know that the judge will most likely make an immediate decision on the matter? You also have the right to appeal a decision made at a custody hearing. Talk to your child custody lawyer and make sure you know how these proceedings work, and you won’t be caught off guard.
When it comes to child custody hearings or any legal matter, the right lawyer will make all the difference. Every family is unique. Every custody case must be approached in a different way. At the Edgar & Dow, we know how important your custody case is. We also know how to prepare you for your custody hearing, how to deal with the judge, how to handle your ex’s attorney, and how to set you up for success in every aspect of your divorce.
To find out more about the steps our Southern California child custody attorneys can take to protect your interests, give us a call at (888) 251-9618. We’re standing by to offer our experienced insight and guidance.
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