If you are involved in a heated
child custody dispute, going to a court hearing is inevitable. Stepping foot inside
of a courtroom can be a frightening, confusing, and stressful, especially
since many parents are unfamiliar with the family law process.
Through thorough preparation, you have an opportunity to build a strong
case and ultimately obtain the outcome you desire. It is important to
understand that the court considers the best interests of the children
as their top priority, so ensure you demonstrate to the judge that you
are loving and responsible parent.
The following are several tips to prepare for a child custody hearing:
Hire an experienced
family law attorney – Your lawyer can help you better understand the process and what
you’re up against by evaluating your case, presenting all available
legal options, and developing an effective legal strategy to get the best
Familiarize yourself with the state laws – While having legal representation can provide immense help, doing
your own research can also be significantly beneficial. Although reading
legalese may be a daunting task, you need to know what you’re up
against prior to your court appearance.
Be a good parent – While this may sound obvious, you must position yourself as an
engaged and responsible parent. You are required to prove to the judge
that you are a better caregiver than the other. Putting your emotions
of the custody dispute aside to spend as much time with your kids and
being the best parent you can be will speak volumes in the courtroom.
Bring proper documentation – You don’t want to show up to court empty-handed. Prior to
the custody hearing, you and your lawyer should collect all the documents
necessary for your case. Important types of documents include bank statements
and financial documentation, a parenting schedule, proof of
child support payments, your children’s medical records, and other documents relevant
to your case.
Learn about proper court etiquette – The courtroom can be an emotionally-overwhelming venue. If the
other party and their attorney are saying negative things about you to
a judge, your emotions may get the best of you. However, misbehaving or
otherwise acting inappropriately in court can be detrimental, which could
lead to losing custody. Your attorney can teach you the proper courtroom
etiquette and what to expect during the hearing, as well as help you avoid
any negative emotional outbursts.
Wear proper courtroom attire – First impressions are always important, whether you are in a job
interview or meeting your significant other’s parents. The courtroom
is no different. You only get one opportunity to make a positive, influential
first impression. Wear clothes that are formal and conservative in nature.
If you are embroiled in a hotly-contested child custody dispute in Massachusetts,
contact our Wellesley family law attorney at
Barach Law Group LLC today.