Not everyone can sit down with their future former spouse and work out an amicable custody arrangement. The media, Hollywood and other people may attempt to tell you that you fall short in your parenting duties if you don't, but that simply isn't true.
Many Lee County couples need the help of the court to figure out their child custody issues. Moreover, not every parenting situation involves two parents fit to share parenting time jointly. If your circumstances mean that you must endure a contentious child custody hearing, so be it. You must do what is best for your children, and sometimes, that means going to court. Before your hearing date, it may reduce your stress and increase your chances of success if you feel prepared.
What you can do in advance of your hearing
You can do several things before your hearing to make sure you are prepared, which could reduce your stress about the situation:
- Make sure that you have all of the documentation together that you want to present to the court. Since the judge could make a decision during your hearing, you could only get one chance to give the judge the documentation you believe relevant to your case.
- Make sure you understand how the hearing process works. Not knowing what to expect may only increase your stress level, which could cause you to make a mistake.
- Make sure you understand state law regarding custody and know what the "best interest standard" is prior to your hearing. The more you know, the less apprehensive you may be.
- Make sure you know how to act and dress for your hearing. You only get one chance to make a good impression on the judge.
These simple steps could help reduce your stress levels enough to focus on the hearing and accomplish your goals. To maximize your preparation time, it may also help to sit down with a family law attorney who can help you gather your documents and understand your rights and the laws. Moreover, an attorney could explain the proper courtroom etiquette and give you advice regarding what to wear to convey the impression you want to give the judge. The more organized, put together and well-mannered you are, the greater the possibility is that you will have a positive experience.