A child custody hearing is an important legal situation for you and all
members of the family.
No matter how stressful this situation can be, it is imperative to be cognizant of the process to become ready for the best possible outcome. After the judge’s custody decision, there is no appeal unless significant change in circumstance.
Therefore, preparation is key. Read more on child custody hearings in Suwanee, GA to understand how to prepare for your case.
Below are the factors the courts use to decide custody cases in Georgia:
- Child’s Wishes (if child is at least 11)
- Parent Mental and Physical Health
- Living Proximity Between Parent and Child
- Parent Work Schedule and Flexibility to Care for Child
- Relationship Between Parent and Child
- Parent Willingness to Encourage a Relationship Between Child and Other Parent
- Relationship Between Child and Siblings
- Parent Involvement in Child’s Educational, Social and Extracurricular Activities
- Parent Ability to Financially Provide for Child
- Evidence of Domestic Violence or Abuse
- Safety of Home Environment
- Evidence of Criminal Activity
Keeping in mind the above standards, there are various ways you can be ready for the outcome with a little pre-planning. Here are more tips on how to prepare for a child custody hearing:
KNOW GEORGIA CUSTODY LAWS
If you are a new Georgia resident, the laws in this state may vary from other states. For example, unique to Georgia is the “parenting plan,” which outlines various details about the proposed parenting arrangement including a yearly schedule, holiday/vacation agreement, transportation arrangements and communication expectations.
Do your research on the other parent if there are issues you are concerned about. Is the other parent in an unsafe environment? Does the other parent have a violent history or is abusive? For any claim you want to state about your other parent, make sure to have documents including police reports, crime activity information and any other supporting information to backup your claims.
KNOW YOUR CASE
Read all court documents carefully and with understanding. Organize your key points that you would like the court to know. With each request, have an answer with reasoning to justify your request. Stay focused on main issues that were in the original filing paperwork.
PROVE YOUR OWN DEMANDS
If you are seeking sole or primary custody, make sure you have proper documentation supporting your financial stability. Again, the court will decide on the best interest of the child(ren), so plan to back up every statement or request you plan to make in court.
Bring deed/lease or any other housing information that verifies your living situation. The court will need to see that you have a stable and safe living environment for the children.
Share information about your children’s school, academic progress and activities s/he is involved in. This will help the judge see that your child is in favorable learning environment and may help influence his decision.
For child custody hearings, there is not an impossible amount of work that should be completed in advance, but it is important to be prepared in efforts to support the custody decision you want for you and your child. If there are any additional questions you have before your hearing, contact your divorce lawyer or speak with a child custody attorney specializing in these situations for counsel.