Courts in California consider the child’s best interest in matters of child custody and visitation. And the rights you receive as a parent depend on how the court perceives you. Keep the following tips in mind when preparing for your child custody hearing.
Mind your manners in court
The way you behave in court influences how others see you. A parent who displays violent outbursts or curses the other parent won’t make a good impression. Even if you feel such behavior is justified, it can make you look like a bad parent. Exhibiting good behavior in the courtroom doesn’t guarantee a favorable outcome, but it also won’t work against you.
Dress appropriately for court
Much like your behavior, your appearance also influences how others view you. Putting care and thought into your attire makes a good impression. It implies that you’re responsible and serious about the child custody hearing. Looking good doesn’t automatically mean you’re the better parent. However, dressing accordingly shows respect for the court.
Focus on being the better parent
Child custody and visitation rights favor the parent who is deemed the best for the child. Focusing on your strong points as a parent can help your case. Give examples that show you provide a safe, loving and stable home for the child.
What to expect in court
Laws concerning child custody and visitation rights vary by state. However, there are situations in which a parent is highly unlikely to receive sole custody or unsupervised visitation rights.
For example, a parent who has sexually or emotionally abused a child might not have any visitation rights. However, you might find that there are exceptions to these rules. If you have legal counsel, they can give you an idea of what to expect in a case that involves an issue such as abuse.