After parents in Louisiana get a divorce, they must establish child custody. If it’s impossible to reach an agreement on their own, the former couple will have to attend a hearing. These are the best ways to prepare for one in order to make a positive impression.
Bring a parenting plan
If possible, come to court with a tentative parenting plan to show the judge that you’re determined to fairly share custody with your former spouse. It should include potential parenting time schedules that are appropriate for all parties’ respective schedules.
Come to your child custody hearing with all relevant evidence to strengthen your case. This includes medical records, criminal records, school records, photos and videos, messages, journals and more. Witnesses can also be brought in to testify on your behalf; they can attest to your relationship with your child and stress that you deserve custody. If they can’t appear in person, letters may suffice. Witnesses may include relatives, friends, teachers, doctors and mental health professionals.
Know the proper etiquette
Knowing how to properly dress and act is crucial when you’re involved in a child custody hearing. A suit is appropriate for everyone. Women also have the option of wearing dresses. In any case, dressing in business casual attire is best.
Avoid speaking out of turn and fighting with your former spouse while in court. Displaying impulsivity may reflect negatively on you with the judge. Remember that you’re there to maintain your relationship with your child.
Know the laws
Research state laws on custody before your court date. It can help you know what to expect before the day arrives when you and your spouse appear for the hearing.
Staying organized can only benefit you before, during and after your custody hearing. Keep and make multiple copies of all documentation and take notes of all information you need to remember. You may also want to take notes of all correspondence between you and your former spouse.
When you know what to expect at your child custody hearing, you’ll have a better chance of success. Your child is well worth all the effort.