Although parents separate for any number of reasons, the safety and well-being of their children is a concern that is shared. Child custody is usually the top priority for most parents in Michigan who divorce. However, parents are sometimes unable to come to an agreement on child custody, so the matter goes to court. Here are a few ways a parent can prepare for this type of family law proceeding.
What to expect
To be best prepared for a child custody case, it is important that a parent knows what to expect so that he or she can anticipate the numerous steps of the process. Many parents do not know that child custody cases do not go in front of a jury like a civil or criminal case; rather, they are heard by a judge. The judge will often make a decision immediately and issue a child custody order.
The better parent
When a parent is seeking sole custody, the better-parent standard will often come into play. Basically, the parent will have to prove to the judge that he or she is the better parent. This can be difficult to do. It is helpful to discuss this with a lawyer and gain an understanding of what the court may be looking for. Also, the parent should work with his or her lawyer to determine what documents to bring to the custody hearing.
Parents who are seeking child custody must make a positive first impression. Dressing appropriately is a must and should never be overlooked. The judge will likely form an appearance-based opinion of the parent before they hear the case.
Always remember that this is for the children. The court will always put the best interests of the children at the forefront. Preparing in advance can enable parents to present a convincing case and win child custody. Parents in Michigan who have questions about child custody or need help preparing for a family law proceeding should consult with a knowledgeable and seasoned attorney who can provide guidance and answer difficult questions.