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How to Prepare for a Child Custody Hearing


Unfortunately, many parents who cannot agree on child custody arrangements – even after mediation – end up in the courtroom for a judge to decide. Child custody hearings can be emotionally charged because of the sensitive nature of such cases, which is why one of the most important steps to take is to hire an experienced family law attorney to help you prepare for your hearing.

Remember, judges will make their decision based on the best interests of the child. You must always show that you are a loving and responsible parent who can provide a safe and nurturing home for your kids.

The following are several ways you can prepare for your child custody hearing:

  • Understand the law – Become familiar with the relevant state laws surrounding your case. Reading the fine print can help you create a list of questions to ask your attorney.

  • Know the “better-parent standard” – If you are interested in obtaining sole custody, the better-parent standard will come into play. This standard is based on the child’s best interests. A judge will determine which parent has established himself/herself as more equipped to satisfy the child’s emotional and financial needs. However, sole custody is generally awarded due to family violence, alcohol/drug addiction, or other safety issues.

  • Gather proper documentation – Your lawyer can help you figure out what documents to bring to your hearing. Common documents include a proposed parenting plan, current visitation schedules, your child’s school and medical records, phone call logs, and proof of child-support payments.

  • Learn how to act and behave in court – Since child custody hearings can be hotly contested, it is not uncommon for one or both parents to have emotional outbursts or make accusatory statements. However, first impressions are important to court judges. How you appear to the court will impact a judge’s decision. Not only must you be on your best behavior in the courtroom, but you must also dress in professional attire. Your attorney can help you prepare for your hearing by doing some roleplaying and tell you how to properly dress for court.

Obtain legal representation as early as possible to better prepare for your hearing. Your lawyer will examine your case, determine your available legal options, and develop a personalized strategy tailored to your unique situation.

If you are dealing with a child custody dispute in Fresno, CA, contact Arnold Law Group, APC today at (559) 900-1263 for a confidential consultation. Do not hesitate to let us protect your rights and best interests.

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