There are many challenging aspects to the divorce process, with child custody matters arguably being the most important. While court involvement can be kept to a minimum if both parents agree on the fundamentals, it is likely that you will still have to attend some hearings.
The prospect of attending court can be daunting, especially if you have never been before. What can you do to prepare yourself?
Try not to dramatize the court
For many people, their only courtroom experience is what they have seen on television. While there may be some similarities between this and the real thing, these are often few and far between. Television dramas seek to draw viewers in, whereas the real courts generally want to settle matters as fairly and efficiently as possible. While both you and your co-parent will be looking to establish your custody rights, this doesn’t have to be carried out in an adversarial manner. In fact, the court will tend to look favorably on former couples who can settle disputes amicably.
Create a good impression
While the family court may be less formal than the criminal law courts, those in attendance are still expected to behave respectfully. Frustration can run high during custody hearings, but it is important to keep your emotions in check. Try to leave personal grievances with your ex to one side, and think about how you can both be model parents. Custody hearings relate solely to your rights as a parent and the best interests of the child. All other disputes can be settled through other channels that are more relevant to the issues at hand.
Many co-parents manage to come to an arrangement that ensures that their child can flourish. If you are struggling with the custody process, be sure to examine your legal options.