Preparing for a Child Custody Hearing in Hanover
There are few things more concerning to a parent than facing custody litigation involving your child. The amount of time you will spend with them and the role you will play in their life depends significantly on a judge’s decision, and the thought of that process can be extremely nerve-racking.
If you are facing a custody battle, you want to present the best case possible in court to protect your relationship with your child. While no amount of preparation can completely remove the stress of custody litigation, there are steps you can take to increase the chance of a successful outcome for you and your family.
When preparing for a child custody hearing in Hanover, you should consult an attorney at O’Connor Family Law. With over 35 combined years of exclusive family law experience, our team has the skill and knowledge to help you through this difficult time.
Gathering Evidence in Preparation of a Child Custody Hearing in Hanover
When preparing for a custody hearing in Hanover, your goal should be to demonstrate your ability to care for your child and that it is in their best interests to be under your care. If the case proceeds to trial, you can tell the judge about things such as your past role in your children’s life and your capability as a parent. This can be done by presenting photographs, documents, and other physical evidence that supports your relationship with your child. Some examples of useful information that may be needed prior to a trial date can include:
- Text messages and emails between you and the other parent demonstrating your willingness to communicate about your child, or conversely, their unwillingness to respectfully or timely communicate with you.
- Photographs of your home, your child’s room, and you spending time with your child.
- School progress reports and notes from parent/teacher meetings to demonstrate your involvement in your child’s education.
- Parenting schedules showing how much time you and the other parent spend with your child and whether any visitations have been missed.
It is essential to keep in mind that you are trying to paint a picture of your relationship with your child to the judge. If you are not sure whether specific evidence could be beneficial for your case, ask your attorney. It is far better to provide too much information than not enough, and an experienced lawyer can decide what to present to the judge at the hearing.
Prepare Your Parenting Plan
In a contested custody hearing where either you or the other parent requests shared legal or physical custody, you are required under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 208 §31 to present a parenting plan to the judge before they make a final decision about your parental rights. This plan must address your child’s education, medical care, living arrangements, holiday and vacation schedules, and how you and the other parent intend to resolve any future disputes about your child. There is no cookie-cutter parenting schedule that works for every single family. Because of this, you need a parenting schedule that is tailored best for your particular situation but that takes into consideration what a Judge will typically order for others in a similar situation to yours so you have the best chance of getting the schedule you are seeking. A knowledgeable lawyer in Hanover can help you prepare a reasonable plan for a judge to consider when determining child custody in a hearing.
Be Honest with Your Attorney
It is crucial to be honest with your Hanover attorney during any custody dispute because they may not be able to adequately prepare for your hearing or defend you in court if they do not have all the facts and information. If the other parent has damaging information about you, share it with your lawyer and let them determine how to handle it with a judge, even if you do not agree with the allegations or they are being misconstrued in some way. Similarly, tell your attorney everything you know about the other parent so they can decide what might be relevant in your case.
Work with a Hanover Attorney when Preparing for a Custody Hearing
Appearing in court to protect your right to a relationship with your child can be overwhelming. Diligent preparation, along with the skill and guidance of a lawyer, can help you demonstrate to a judge that you are a loving and responsible parent and that your child will benefit by being in your care. For more information on preparing for a child custody hearing in Hanover, call our office.