How Can a Parent Prepare for a Child Custody Hearing?
If you are in the midst of a divorce, this is undoubtedly a stressful time and, if you share children with your spouse, you are understandably concerned about custody and what you can do to ensure you are able to continue to be part of their lives. While your family law attorney will be able to assist you and navigate you through this emotional process, there are still some things you can and should do to help increase your chances of obtaining the results you are seeking.
Below is a list of some tips that can help prepare you for an upcoming child custody hearing:
- Tell your attorney everything: This is a critical element in any client-attorney relationship. Remember, your divorce attorney is on your side and wants to help you, so it is always in your best interest to tell him or her everything. If you ever made any personal mistakes or problems with parenting, be honest about it. You might feel ashamed, but keep in mind that your ex-spouse is not going to withhold these facts from his or her attorney and, if you keep your lawyer in the dark about it, you will only end up hurting your own case. When your attorney knows everything, he or she will be able to plan and prepare more effectively on your behalf, so do not handicap your own case!
- Put together a witness list: Collaborate with your attorney to develop a list of reliable witnesses, such as your children’s teacher, sports coach, or another individual in a professional position.
- Never put your children in a potentially difficult situation: Generally, children are not asked to testify, especially when they are younger. Asking your children with whom they would rather live or trying to convince them to choose you will only cause them pain and harm your case. Custody decisions are not dependent on the desires of the children, but rather based on what would serve their best interests.
- Keep a journal: Documenting certain things could immensely benefit your chances of retaining child custody. Keep track of how much time you spend with the children, what activities you do, how much the other parent spends with them, and any negative remarks or threats you believe would impact custody. You should also try to recollect the past six months as well and document any notable incidents to the best of your ability.
- Never leave the family residence until a custody arrangement is in place: If you are going to move out of the family home without the children, having a court order in place is critical. Leaving without one can greatly harm your child custody case.
- Show that you are able to provide for them: Assuming you moved out of the family residence with a court order in place, it will be helpful to prove to the court that you are well established and capable of caring for the children, have a job, a place to live, community ties, and have already been preparing for school and child care. If the other parent is not capable of adequately providing for the children, it is important to find others who can testify to this.
Child Custody Attorney in Clarks Summit
For parents, a child custody battle will be one of the most difficult experiences they ever have to endure. If you are currently in the midst of a child custody case, the family law attorneys at O’Malley Law Office, LLC can provide the legal representation you need to get you through these proceedings and achieve the best possible results for you and your children’s future.
Contact our office today at (570) 391-0866 to schedule a free case evaluation with a knowledgeable member of our Clark Summit team.