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How Do I Prepare for a Custody Hearing?

Grandparents may petition for child custody.
Having a good lawyer will help a person prepare for a custody hearing.
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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 04 September 2014
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Preparing for a custody hearing can be stressful, but there are some things a person can do to not only feel better prepared for the process, but also have a better chance of securing a positive outcome. To prepare for a custody hearing, an individual may do well to secure the help of an attorney who is experienced with custody cases. An individual may also take some time to organize pertinent documents and keep careful records of what's going on in the case. Spending some time finding new ways to cope with stress may also help a person in this position, as he may arrive in court alert, calm, and ready to deal with whatever happens next.

One of the first things a person may do to prepare for a custody hearing is obtain a lawyer. Even the simplest of custody cases can turn complex, and an individual who does not have legal representation may be at a disadvantage. Sometimes people may decide to represent themselves because they think they cannot afford a lawyer, but there are legal organizations that provide individuals with free or discounted representation if they can show that their income is below a certain threshold amount. If an individual is not eligible for one of these programs, even arranging for a free or low-cost consultation with a lawyer may help him to understand what to expect and give him some direction in planning his next move.

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In some cases, a judge may review custody-related documents when deciding a case. If a person has been asked to bring certain documents to court, he may do well to spend some time organizing them and placing them into their own folders or sections of a binder. This will help ensure that the party does not forget anything on his court day and will also make it easy for him to retrieve a document when asked in court.

In can be easy to forget facts, dates, and times when the time comes to make a case in court. To prepare for a custody hearing, a person may do well to keep a journal or similar type of written record of the events that lead up to the court date. For example, he may record when the other parent fails to show up for visitation or write down any dates on which the other parent denies him time with the children.

Finally, a person who is preparing for a custody hearing may do well to find ways of coping with the stress that often goes along with such cases. He may start a new exercise routine, read self-help books, start to meditate, or even make more time to spend laughing with friends. These measures may help him to remain calm and prevent angry outbursts that could hurt his case.

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