Even with an attorney's assistance, child custody hearings are often stressful for parents. Keep in mind you have the best chance of a successful result when you conduct yourself appropriately and come to the courthouse fully prepared for your hearing. That's why Very Well Family recommends these tips to present your case in a compelling and effective manner.
Wear the right clothing
While it might not seem fair, the way you dress on the day of the hearing will have an impact on the judge's decision to some degree. It's recommended that parents attending a custody trial dress conservatively, similar to what a person would wear during a job interview. Wearing sloppy or ill-fitting clothing puts forward a disorganized image that could potentially speak negatively to your parenting ability. In general, shorts, sneakers, ultra-tight clothing, and anything else that could be construed as inappropriate should be left at home.
Don't lose your cool
Custody battles can be contentious if you and your ex are at odds over what should happen. While it may be easy to do when faced with false or inflammatory statements, don't resort to name calling or yelling. If you're trying to present yourself as the better parent, lashing out in anger will counter that objective. This is especially pertinent if you're applying for sole custody, which means the judge will hold you to some rigorous standards.
Know what to bring
You must come to the hearing armed with the right evidence. School records, medical bills, character statements, phone logs, and proof child support are all common items to bring to court when it comes to child custody. Your attorney should provide a detailed list of the sort of items that can help build your case, so be sure to come to the court fully prepared. You can also bring items to refute statements the other parent is making. For example, if your ex claims to see the child frequently and does not, you can show the judge the visitation schedule.