Prep Tips for Child Custody Cases
By Space Coast Daily // November 20, 2020
You may be worried about the chances of gaining custody of your children. Every situation of child custody cases are different and vary depending on the family’s specific circumstances. The custody of a child may be negotiated and determined by the parents with the help of a mediator or attorney.
If the parents reach a custody agreement, the court may deny or approve it depending on how well it serves the child. However, it is common for separating couples to disagree on custody and parenting arrangements.
If the parents are unable to come to a mutual agreement about the custody of the child, the court will ultimately decide for them. To be successful in a child custody hearing, you must put the children first. A few general rules of thumb are provided below to help you successfully prepare for a child custody battle.
No Children in The Courtroom
First thing first, the children should not come into court with you. If it is possible, leave the kids with a babysitter or in a childcare facility. It is best to leave the kids at home because courts typically prefer to keep kids out of court proceedings.
If there are no other choices than to bring the kids, it is best to be granted permission to do so. On rare occasions, there are cases where children may have to testify. Unless your attorney suggests your child to testify, the children should not come to court with you.
Laws of Child Custody
If you are not familiar with the law that revolves around child custody, several questions may be raised while in court. When battling a child custody hearing familiarize yourself with your state laws and parental responsibilities.
Would you rather have joint custody or sole custody? If you’re not familiar with the types of custody, joint legal custody is an arrangement where both parents have the right to make important decisions regarding the child’s schooling, welfare, sports, religion, medical, activities, personal care, employment, and any other significant decisions.
However, if three is a disagreement, one parent has to be the “decision” maker. There are four (4) areas of decision-making in Georgia: Education; Medical; Extra-curricular; and Religion. Sole legal custody is where only one parent has the full authority to make those major decisions regardless of the other parent’s opinion. It is extraordinary to be granted sole legal custody.
Highlight Your Qualities
If you believe it is best to be the final decision maker, highlight yourself the parent who better has the ability to make those decisions, while including the other parent in the decision-making process. The court is looking for the best interest of the children and including the other parent in your decision-making process is one of the many factors they consider.
Your attorney will guide and provide you with all the information and documentation needed to be successful in a courtroom. The key is to distinguish between all relevant and irrelevant information. Personal records, phone call logs, and your child’s records are a few examples of documentation that will support your written submission made before the court.
Exercise Courtroom Etiquette
Courtroom etiquette is necessary. It is best to be on your best behavior to avoid any altercations with your former spouse. Any altercation can dramatically change the outcome of your child custody case – no matter how small the altercation is. It is also best to avoid criticizing your former spouse to steer clear of any confrontation. Imagine what the judge may think if you are arguing in the courtroom.
Dress to Impress
You only get one chance to make a first impression, so you must dress appropriately. How you dress will play a role in how the judge and court perceive you as both a person and a parent. Keep your outfit professional, neutral, and simple when deciding what to wear to a court hearing.