How to Prepare for a Child Custody Hearing
Your very first child custody hearing can be a difficult experience, especially if you are unfamiliar with how the process works. However, a little preparation can go a long way toward helping you feel more comfortable in court, giving you a better chance at a positive outcome.
Below are some tips to help you prepare for your child custody hearing:
- Know the laws: Enter the court with a general understanding of New York child custody laws so you are not surprised by anything that happens. This will give you a better idea of the challenges you will face and what you need to prove to secure custody of your children.
- Have your documents prepared and organized: Work with your family law attorney to prepare all the necessary documents — and have those items well organized for your court appearance. Some examples of documents you might bring include an annotated visitation schedule, a phone log, proof of child support payments and any other notes or documents that demonstrate your capabilities as a parent.
- Lean on your attorney: Follow your attorney’s lead in the courtroom and let him or her do most of the talking. Learn appropriate courtroom etiquette and never interrupt others or speak out of turn. Your professionalism in court will help you create a positive impression on the judge overseeing your case.
- Dress appropriately: It’s also important to dress appropriately. If you want to secure custody of your children, you should be focused on making a good impression, and professional attire is a big part of that. Before your judge hears any evidence related to your case, he or she will likely form an opinion of you based solely on your appearance. This might seem unfair, but it’s a basic fact — positive first impressions are more likely to yield positive results.
For more information and advice on preparing for child custody hearings, consult a knowledgeable Long Island family law attorney with Bryan L. Salamone & Associates.