Preparing for Your Child Custody Hearing

Preparing for Your Child Custody Hearing

As a newly single, working professional trying to manage your work schedule and your children’s school and extracurricular schedule can be stressful. Add the impending child custody hearing date to your calendar and you’ve got a recipe for one frazzled parent. Fortunately, as a Westlake Village child custody lawyer, I have put together this blog to provide you with some tips you can follow to get you prepared for your custody hearing. If after reading this you still have questions, feel free to contact me at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Graff for a free case evaluation.

Gather Your Documents

The worst thing you could do for yourself is appear unprepared for your child custody hearing. You want to present yourself as a responsible, dependable parent to the judge. A Westlake Village child custody attorney will work with you to determine which documents you need to gather, but the below list a general list.

  • Visitation Dates – Keep a record of how long and how often the other parent spend with your child. We suggest purchasing a planner from your local big box or department store. If digital records are more your style, both Android and iPhones have calendar apps with comprehensive features built in that allow you to input addresses, notes and contact information to a calendar event. You can even invite the co-parent to the view the calendar, so they have a reminder of the visitation dates you two have planned.
  • Phone Call Logs – Document when the other parent calls to speak with your child.
  • School Documents – For a judge to make a call on what is in the best interests of the child, they need to know as much about your children as they can. By providing physical evidence about their school life, the judge can gather some basic information. Documents to bring include, report cards, any awards, performance test results, attendance records and reading records if you have children in elementary school.
  • Extracurricular Activities – Any photographs you have of your child playing a sport, or learning a musical instrument, or taking a painting class.
  • Criminal Records – Gather these records for yourself, your children and your co-parent.

Contact Witnesses

While it is okay for you to include witnesses that are related to you in your case, the testimony of a non-familial witness could carry more weight with a judge. If you are the parent consistently attending back to school nights, parent teacher meetings and school awards assemblies you may consider asking you child or children’s teachers to testify for you. The same goes for any sports coaches, music teacher, drama teachers or any other extracurricular teachers you have established a causal relationship with as you drop your child off.

Talk to Your Lawyer About Courtroom Etiquette

During my time practicing family law, I have seen many good parents fail to get the outcome they deserve during their child custody hearing due to their lack of understanding of courtroom etiquette. As your court date approaches, make sure to discuss proper courtroom etiquette with your lawyer. In many instances, a Westlake Village custody lawyer will be familiar with the preferences of certain family court judges.

Here to Help You

Whether you have questions regarding your upcoming custody hearing, or you are interested in hiring a different attorney to represent you, I am here to help you reach your legal goals. Contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Graff today.

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