When you began your divorce proceedings, you may have hoped that you could work out a custody arrangement for your children out of the courtroom. This hope may have come from hearing that many couples are now doing this in order to make the proceedings less stressful on their children and themselves.
Perhaps you attempted to negotiate with your future former spouse but to no avail. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, an out-of-court option isn’t going to work in your case. You will need to go to court in order to resolve this vital issue. Now, you must prepare for court, but you don’t know what to expect.
Here’s a general outline of a custody hearing
The first thing you need to know is that every case is different. You could have additional circumstances outside the “norm” that require addressing by the court. Having said that, below are the basics:
- The court will want to know what you expect from the outcome — either sole custody or joint custody. These days, courts generally prefer joint custody arrangements in order to keep both parents in the children’s lives as much as possible.
- Are you and the other parent currently following some sort of custody arrangement? If it works, the court may make it official, but if it does not, the court will consider other arrangements.
- No matter what the status of your personal relationship with your future ex-spouse, you will remain parents, and that means you will need to communicate. The court will want to know that you and the other parent can speak to each other, at least about the children.
- The court will need details about your financial situation in order to make sure you can provide for your children’s needs. The court also needs this information to determine child support.
Understanding what you will face could help alleviate any stress you may feel. It also gives you the opportunity to gather all of the evidence you will need and prepare for the court’s questions.
Another way to help keep you calm and make sure you are actually appropriately prepared is to consult with an attorney that has experience not only in child custody matters but also in the courtroom. Doing so could boost your confidence and lessen any anxiety you may feel.