How To Prepare For A Child Custody Hearing
Child custody law is one of the most important issues that the family court system has to deal with. Before you head into any type of child custody hearing or conference, you should take several steps to see that your case is presentable. Keep an eye on these three concerns that the court will want to address.
Evidence of Financial Stability
The court generally frowns upon putting children into environments where there are major worries about the financial stability of a parent or a guardian. Presenting your child custody attorney with at least a couple of months' worth of documentation of your financial situation will go a long way toward addressing these issues. Do not try to fudge the numbers or present an overly rosy picture. Simply give your attorney copies of things like bills, receipts for payment of those bills, and any pay stubs. It may also be necessary to show bank receipts, but for the most part, the court just wants to see evidence of continuing financial stability.
If you're making an argument that another party should not have custody of a child due to abuse, being able to document the alleged abuse is important. Police and medical reports, in particular, will carry weight. Pictures may also provide a starting point for the court in understanding why you're concerned. Address the situation in as straight and narrow a manner as possible because the court is sensitive to dealing with this subject.
Bear in mind that most courts in the U.S. have a system for talking separately with children about such claims. If possible, they will try to speak with the child in a space outside the courthouse and away from the parties so the kid can feel comfortable discussing a potentially difficult subject.
There are a couple of temporary structures for dealing with child custody while a formal court order is pending, and these generally include visitation with the child. In some cases, the parties and their lawyers can work out arrangements for visitation on their own. If there is a specific immediate problem that demands the court's attention, a temporary order may be put in place. Unless there is a major problem with one party's conduct, visitation will likely be allowed.
A judge will want to know that visits have been observed. Each visit should be logged, and this log can then be presented to the court as evidence of good faith.
If you need help with child custody hearings or other issues related to this topic, contact a child custody attorney in your area.