What to expect at a child custody hearing

What to expect at a child custody hearing

| Mar 3, 2020 | Family Law |

Going into a courtroom can be scary under any circumstance. That fear increases when there’s something important on the line, like the custody of your children. Knowing what to expect can help you prepare yourself mentally and emotionally ahead of time and make it easier for you to put your best case forward.

Generally speaking, judges decide every custody case based on what’s in the best interest of the children. To do that, they have to understand the lives of each parent, which is determined in part by answering the following questions:

  • What do you do for a living? This question provides necessary information regarding each parent, such as what their daily schedule looks like, what level of job security each parent has, and what opportunities for growth, promotions, or raises are available.
  • What are your finances like? Children need to be in a stable home environment as much as possible. Understanding a parent’s financial situation allows the Court to determine the probability of that parent to adequately provide for the children now and in the future.
  • Why are you seeking this particular custody arrangement? The judge wants to hear how the custody arrangement you want will benefit the children. To a certain extent, that may mean explaining why a different arrangement — the one proposed by your children’s other parent — isn’t good for the kids, but it is important to focus on the positive aspects of the arrangement that you have to offer.
  • What custody arrangement do you have now? Why does or doesn’t it work currently? Judges prefer to keep already established arrangements in place for the sake of consistency for the children. However, if there are problems with an existing arrangement, this may lead the Court to make a necessary change, as long as it is in the best interests of the children.
  • How well do you communicate with the other parent? The judge is looking at whether you are willing to help your children retain or build upon their existing relationship with their other parent. It is important to focus on what you intend to do to encourage and facilitate your children’s relationship with their other parent (not how poorly your ex reciprocates).

If you’re heading into a custody battle with your ex, don’t try to handle the issue on your own. Find out how an experienced advocate can help.