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5 Preparation Tips for Your Child Custody Hearing

5 Preparation Tips for Your Child Custody Hearing

If you have a court hearing scheduled for a child custody dispute, going through the legal process can be a frightening and confusing experience—especially if you have never stepped foot inside a courtroom before. Preparation is of utmost importance in order to present a convincing case to the judge and obtain the most favorable possible outcome. While the judge will decide on child custody matters based on the best interests of the child, your goal is to demonstrate to the court that you are a loving, stable, and responsible parent who can offer your child a safe and happy home.

The following are several steps you can take to be prepared for your custody hearing:

  1. Hire an attorney – The most important thing you can do is hire an attorney who has the knowledge and experience to properly handle child custody matters. Your lawyer can evaluate your situation, listen to your concerns, determine your available legal options, build an effective case strategy, and help you prepare for your court appearance. Seek recommendations from friends, family, and your attorney.
  2. Become familiar with the law – Just because you have a lawyer on your side doesn’t mean you don’t have to learn about the law. By knowing the child custody laws, not only will you understand what will occur during the legal process, but also give you a good idea of what the court is looking for.
  3. Collect documentation – Your attorney can help you figure out what documents to bring to your child custody hearing. Common types of documents include a parenting journal which highlights your efforts to maintain a consistent relationship with your child, correspondence with the other parent, a proposed parenting plan, your child’s medical records, statements from teachers and authority figures and other helpful documents to show the court you are a fit parent.
  4. Create a safe and wholesome home environment for your child – The judge wants to know and see you can provide your child with a safe and loving environment. In addition, you should ensure you take care of your physical and mental needs to demonstrate you can make healthy choices as well as any fit parent can. When you foster a healthy household and lifestyle, the other parent will have difficulty proving you are the unfit parent.
  5. Learn courtroom etiquette – First impressions are always important, especially in the courtroom. You want to show the judge you are a fit parent by behaving appropriately. Your lawyer can teach you proper courtroom etiquette and help you keep your emotions in check when discussing your child custody matters. Ensure you wear professional clothing.

If you need experienced legal assistance when dealing with a hotly contested child custody matter in New York, contact our Long Island attorneys at Friedman & Friedman PLLC, Attorneys at Law today.