It can be jarring when divorced parents in New York have to attend child custody hearings. It’s important to know how to be prepared.
Understand how the process works
You should know the state laws and understand how a child custody hearing works. Learn as much about the process prior to your court date. You might even want to visit the courthouse a few days before the hearing to get a better sense of the surroundings. Talk with professionals to get as much information as possible.
Bring the right documents
You need to bring any documents pertinent to your case to the courthouse with you. Anything that can help your case in terms of your relationship with your children should be brought. Detailed phone logs, proof of child support payments, visitation and parenting schedules, journals, proof of contact with your children, school records and even pictures of you with your children can help. Remember that the court always bases decisions on what’s in the child’s best interests when deciding custody.
Wear appropriate attire
Going to court means you should dress appropriately. Don’t wear jeans or T-shirts or other casual clothing. Wear something that is at least business casual such as slacks, button-down shirts, nice sweaters, dresses or skirts for women and jackets. If you have piercings or tattoos, you might want to cover them up or wear something less showy in the case of piercings.
Avoid becoming overly emotional
It’s normal to become emotional during a child custody hearing as it involves your beloved children. However, it’s important to avoid getting overwhelmed with emotion and having a strong reaction or outburst in court. Remain as calm and composed as possible and stay focused during the hearing. Focus on your children first and foremost and remember that this proceeding is in their best interests.
Being prepared for a custody hearing benefits any parent.