As our clients know, custody hearings carry huge implications for the lives of everyone involved, and they should not be taken lightly. In California, a custody hearing is overseen by a family law judge whose decision is ultimately based on promoting the child’s best interests. As a result, it is the court’s duty to analyze the situation in-depth, consult with each parent, and capture as much of the “picture” as possible before handing down their decision.
Needless to say, having some anxiety about your upcoming custody hearing is perfectly normal. With that in mind, there are steps that you can take to help ensure that the process is as smooth as possible, and to help you protect your interests along with those of your loved ones. Preparation is key, as it can help steer the courts towards the right outcome.
For this post, we are looking at a list of essential steps that you should take as your custody hearing in California approaches. Have you checked these items off your to-do list yet?
Prepare to Discuss the Parenting Plan You Want
As you walk into court, be ready to explain and justify the parenting plan that you think is ideal. In general, the courts prefer joint arrangements that allow both parents to continue being involved in his/her child’s life. Always make your intentions clear and formally state whether you want to ask for sole custody, want to ensure that certain terms are part of the parenting plan, agree with joint arrangements, and more. The courts will want you to explain why you prefer certain arrangements, so come prepared with evidence to support your stance.
Gather All Relevant Financial Documents
A judge will want to get a full picture of the finances on both sides, as he/she wants to assess how you are able to provide for your child’s needs individually and collectively. Likewise, this insight will affect decisions involving child support, and you should come prepared. Be ready to furnish documentation on your income, debts, assets, and any other relevant financial information.
Consult with a Qualified Child Custody Attorney
Last but certainly not least, when facing a custody hearing in California, always recruit the assistance of a qualified legal professional. Your ex will undoubtedly come prepared with his/her own legal representation, and you don’t want to be at a disadvantage when the stakes are this high. Not only that, but a skilled child custody attorney can help you identify your legal options and provide counsel during every step of the custody dispute and hearing process.
If you’d like to schedule a free initial consultation with a reputable family law attorney in California, remember that we at R & S Law Group, LLP are a quick phone call away. We’re here to assist with all legal matters relating to divorce, child custody, and family law in California.
Call today to learn more about what we at R & S Law Group, LLP do.