There is no doubt that what you are about to experience is possibly one of the most stressful events of your life. A child custody hearing will determine when and how often you see your children and may define your relationship with them for the rest of their lives. If your former spouse is seeking sole custody, you know you have a battle ahead.
While there may be no way to really get your mind around the situation, knowing a little of what to expect may help you prepare.
Tips to consider before your hearing
To get a better understanding of how to behave during the custody hearing, some parents find it helpful to role play with their attorneys. You may suggest this if you feel it will help you avoid making critical mistakes in the courtroom. Meanwhile, you may have many questions about the hearing. Some basic questions many parents have include the following:
- How should I dress? You will want to make the best first impression possible. You may not be able to do this wearing torn jeans and an old tee shirt. Your attorney will be more specific about your attire, but arriving clean and well-dressed is a start.
- What should I bring? You may want to bring any phone records, visitation schedules or other proof of your active participation in your child’s life. Not everything will be admissible, but your attorney will help you decide what is important to bring to the hearing.
- What can I expect? You and your former spouse will meet before a judge, not a jury. The judge will hear both sides and decide on a custody order. Even if you and your spouse are at odds, the hearing will likely be controlled and respectful.
Most custody situations begin with the assumption that both parents are equally capable of seeking the best interests of their children. However, in some cases, this is not true. If your concern is that your children will not thrive in the custody of your former spouse, you may have to prove to the court that you are the better parent.
Working for a positive resolution
Knowing the laws for child custody decisions in Georgia will be helpful. Since every state’s laws are different, you will want to be sure you understand what to expect. However, with everything you are dealing with, it is not likely you will have time to study the details of family law. Instead, you will certainly benefit from having a legal advocate in your corner.
A compassionate and experienced attorney will advise and guide you through the custody process. By following your attorney’s advice, you will improve your chances of making a positive impression on the judge and reaching a favorable conclusion.