How to Get Ready for a Child Custody Hearing

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Child custody hearings are an intense experience for everyone involved. There’s a lot on the line, after all—the outcomes of your child custody hearing will likely have a profound impact on your life and the lives of your children for years to come. If you’re feeling nervous about your child custody hearing, it’s OK! We put together a list of a few things you can do to prepare for your hearing and maximize your chances for success. Hint: Working with an experienced family lawyer is the best way to ensure that you are well prepared for your day in court.

Learn what matters for child custody

One of the most important things to understand about child custody hearings is what factors the court considers when determining custody. The number one concern in all child custody hearings is the best interests of the child. When assessing the best interests of a child, the court considers the child’s relationship to both parents as well as each parent’s role in taking care of the child. Whenever possible, courts generally prefer to award shared custody. What this looks like will largely depend on how well each parent can demonstrate their relationship with their child. I work closely with all of my clients to understand their family life and develop the best strategy for explaining their family dynamics and the importance of their relationships in court.

Brush up on courtroom etiquette

Courts are unique places with their own special set of rules. While general social rules of politeness and respect still apply, it’s also important to understand that court is not the place to interrupt, accuse, or launch emotional attacks. Talk to your lawyer about the do’s and don’ts of courtroom etiquette, dress in formal, conservative clothing, and follow all of the judge’s instructions. Whenever I’m preparing a client for a court experience, I make sure that they feel comfortable with the operations of the court long before the day of the hearing.

Work with a skilled family lawyer

When it comes to any legal activity, there is simply no substitute for the services of an experienced lawyer. Your family lawyer should know everything there is to know about child custody hearings, so you’ll feel confident going before the court. I’ve been serving Atascadero and San Luis Obispo families for over 25 years with compassion, understanding, and hard work. If you’re involved in the child custody process, call (805) 466-5888 to schedule an appointment for your case.

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