When divorced parents in New Jersey are unable to agree on child custody, they must go through the court to have it decided. There are many things you can do to ensure that the process protects the best interests of your child.
Bring all supportive documentation
You want to present the court with evidence that you are a good parent and that you deserve custody of your child. Bringing all the right documentation supporting that fact can strengthen your chances during the proceedings. Your evidence is just as strong as the presence of witnesses. You will want to bring logs of visits and contact with your child, photos and videos showing you spending time with your child, medical records, report cards and anything else that’s relevant. You should submit copies to the judge and have extra copies on hand.
Present yourself properly
It’s important to have the proper etiquette while in court for the hearing. You will want to present yourself in the best light possible. After all, the judge is going to determine how and whether you will get to enjoy parenting time with your child. You should dress appropriately for court. A jacket and slacks, a suit or a dress are all appropriate depending on your gender.
Avoid speaking out of turn and having emotional outbursts while your spouse is speaking. Never interrupt the judge. These things can work against you.
Know what to expect
Knowing what to expect during the custody hearing can help you be better prepared. You and your spouse and your respective attorneys will be seated before the judge while family, friends and the viewing public are situated in the gallery behind you. There is no jury during a child custody trial as the judge alone makes a decision.
It is important to understand the legal nuances of child custody before participating in a hearing. This knowledge might help you in achieving a positive outcome.