Divorce can be one of the most difficult times in your life, but sometimes it’s the best option. Divorce with kids can be even worse.
You may feel like a terrible parent and that divorce is setting your children up for failure, but try not to worry. Divorce does not curse your child to have problems later in life. Even so, you may worry about what will happen to your kids in the short term now that you are planning to divorce.
You may ask around to try and get an idea of what to expect at a child custody hearing. Well, we’re here to help you! We’ve put together this basic guide that will give you a little insight into what you can expect during this trying time.
Read on to learn more about child custody hearings!
If you and your co-parent are able to work together for a little while, you may want to consider child custody mediation. In mediation, you work with a mediator to reach an agreeable conclusion without the need for a court hearing. The mediator has no power to make a judgment for you but will aid in facilitating communication between you and your co-parent.
If you are able to agree on a settlement outside of court, it could save you a lot of time, misery, and money.
What to Expect at a Child Custody Hearing
If you are unable or unwilling to resolve things out of court, then you will schedule a hearing in front of a judge to decide your case. Every case is different but there are common things that most cases share that may be helpful to be aware of.
The Goal of the Court
The goal of the court in a child custody battle is always to seek the outcome that will be most beneficial for the child. The judge uses this concept as a guide when evaluating everything that either side presents during the hearing. The court will usually view joint custody as the ideal outcome, as the court considers having access to both parents to be most beneficial to the child.
A parent who seeks sole custody of the child will need to prove to the judge that limiting the other parent’s access to the child is the most beneficial situation.
Prepare to Answer These Questions
The judge will ask you a number of questions to suss out what living situation will be best for the child. Both parties will need to prove their income and may have to disclose any debts they may have that could impact their ability to provide for the child.
The judge will also ask questions about your relationship with your child and your willingness to work together with your co-parent if you reach a joint custody agreement. A joint custody agreement requires communication and collaboration on the part of both parents. If one parent is unwilling to participate in making sure the schedule works, then the judge may decide that the child is better off with only one parent.
Before Court Day Arrives
Now that you know what to expect at a child custody hearing, you’ll be better prepared for your day in court. Make sure to collect any relevant documentation that you will need and bring it with you to court. It’s always better to prepare yourself!
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