Law Office of Stephen W. Penn and Associates

Read this before a child custody hearing

You have a child custody hearing coming up. It determines your rights after the divorce. Now, perhaps it's a contentious situation where you and your ex both want custody. On the other hand, maybe you're both on the same page and you just want an official ruling as you sort out the details.

No matter where you are in this process, make sure you read this first. These tips can help:

  • Get proper documentation. This may include things like a visitation schedule, proof that you made child support payments if necessary, a detailed phone log and much more.
  • Understand what you're asking. If you want sole custody, for instance, it's not just about giving you custody. It's about taking it from your spouse. It takes a lot to prove to the court that they should do something so drastic.
  • Consider how to behave in court. For instance, even though this may be an emotional hearing, you do want to keep emotional outbursts in check.
  • Put your best foot forward. Show up early, not just on time. Wear the right type of clothes so that you look presentable. Address the court respectfully. All of this puts you in a good light and shows that you take this process seriously.
  • Determine exactly what you want and what fits your life. At the same time, try to determine what is in the child's best interests, and then see if there is a way to bring all of those things together.

This ruling will have a drastic impact on your life and your child's future, so you need to know exactly what steps to take.

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  • SCBA | Santa Clara County Bar Association | EST 1917
  • State Bar Of California | California Board Of Legal Specialization | Stephen W. Penn
  • Henry P. Collada Memorial Award 2012