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If you are going through a divorce, coping with the end of your marriage is probably presenting quite an emotional challenge for you. However, if you share children with your spouse, the bigger challenge on your mind is likely the fact that you will have to fight for custody or visitation rights, which can be overwhelming, especially if you are unfamiliar with the legal process. Of course, one of the first steps you should take is to hire an experienced child custody attorney who can effectively guide you through every step. There are also some things you can do to help ensure you are properly prepared for your child custody hearing.
Below is a list of tips that will help you prepare for your child custody hearing:
- Show that you are responsible and engaged: You cannot rewrite history or undo any bad behavior that might be in your past, but you can change and show that you are a responsible and engaged parent who cares. This should be done long before your child custody case, so you can demonstrate a positive pattern of behavior. This might be difficult if you are struggling with feelings of anger and betrayal regarding your spouse or the divorce, but it is important to show that you can overcome these hardships and be a good parent for your children.
- Bring all of your important documents. These can be the child's visitation schedule, a log of phone calls between your child and the other parent, your child's report cards, letters from teachers, proof of child support payments, and any other notes. Any documents that can support your petition for custody will be helpful. Keep copies of all of these documents on hand as well.
- Create a safe home life for your kids: A judge will want to know that you are capable of providing a safe and supportive environment for your kids, especially since it is possible your spouse might try to accuse you of being reckless and unsafe. Always keep your home clean and safe, vet your inner circle of friends, choose appropriate babysitters, be mindful of who you allow into your home as a guest, and never take your children to places that are not kid-friendly.
- Demonstrate good character: You are fighting for custody or visitation rights and this is not to be taken lightly. You will have to do your best to show good character, which can also include character witnesses to help support your case. Showing good character does not only mean you need to be on good behavior, but it also means you should avoid fighting with your soon-to-be former spouse in public or disparaging him or her. Remember, the courts prefer it when both parents are involved in a child’s life, so do not give them a reason to think you are somehow not interested in co-parenting with their other parent by showing that you are emotionally volatile or ill-tempered.
- Tell your attorney everything: No matter how experienced and skilled your child custody attorney is, if you omit important information, you will do yourself a major disservice by handicapping your own case. If you are afraid that your attorney will judge you, this is wrong. Your attorney is here to help, so provide as much information as you can and never hold back.
Experienced Child Custody Attorneys in Irvine
If you and your spouse are no longer able to make your marriage work and are now going through the process of divorce, child custody is likely one of the issues you are currently facing if you share children with your spouse. At Sullivan & Associates in Irvine, our skilled team of child custody attorneys is dedicated to helping clients navigate this delicate situation to ensure they are able to obtain the results they are seeking.
Get started on your child custody case today and reach out to our law firm at (949) 565-2793 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.