It’s but natural to be nervous when you’re about to attend a custody hearing for your child for the very first time. Custody hearings, after all, have the potential to be intense encounters, especially if your divorce is far from amicable.
However, friendly divorce or not, all child custody lawyers will advise clients not to do or say anything that might jeopardize their chances of getting the best possible results. So if you’re involved in a child custody battle, you have to be prepared in every respect for the upcoming hearing.
For one, you have to dress appropriately. Wearing proper courtroom attire—typically formal, conservative clothing—will impress upon the judge that you are a responsible adult who will be a good parent for your child.
It will also help if you do some research about what to expect during the hearing, like the fact that there will be no jury to decide the case. Everything will be presented in front of a judge, who will typically decide on the case and issue a child-custody order right then and there.
The decision of the judge in your child custody case may very well depend on your behavior in court, so you must learn proper courtroom etiquette. That means no outbursts or dramatic accusations, or you could hurt your chances of coming to a favorable custody agreement.
It also pays to become familiar with child custody laws in the state where your case will be heard and decided. Although all 50 states have adopted the Uniform Child Custody Act (UCCA), there are still some differences, such as the fact that in Texas, child custody is referred to as “conservatorship,” and a child’s custodian is called a “conservator.”
If you want to bone up some more on the fundamentals of child custody laws, check out the infographic we have included in this article.
Sam Mazella is the Marketing Director of The Peterson Law Firm, the go-to practice in Arizona when facing divorce, child custody, child support, and financial crisis. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking and camping trips with his family and friends.