Although most couples go into an Ohio marriage expecting it to last, this isn’t always the case. Things happen, people change and divorce might be necessary. However, having children sometimes complicates things, especially when custody is at issue. These tips can help you prepare for your child custody hearing.
Familiarize yourself with state laws
Before entering the family court for your custody hearing, it’s helpful to know the laws in the state. Researching them can help you understand what’s expected once your court date arrives. You won’t be in the hearing feeling confused and will be better prepared to answer questions from the judge. One thing to keep in mind is that custody is always determined, first and foremost, on what’s in your child’s best interests.
Bring the right documentation
Bringing the right documentation with you to court is crucial. It should include a written parenting plan, financial documents such as proof of income, child-related expenses and tax returns, records of communication between you and your child, school and medical records and witness statements. If you and your estranged spouse have a history of domestic abuse, you’ll want to include police reports, protective orders and other similar documents with your paperwork.
Know how to dress and behave
Wear appropriate attire to make a good impression on the family law judge; this can include business casual clothing such as slacks, suit jackets, sweaters, skirts, dresses or button-down shirts or blouses. Be respectful and avoid outbursts when it’s not your turn to speak.
Understand the process
Knowing how the courtroom process works can help your preparation. You might want to travel to the courthouse ahead of time to take in the surroundings. Asking about the procedure from someone familiar can also help.
Custody hearings are often difficult for parents. Fortunately, being prepared can help ease things so you can walk out successfully.