When divorcing parents in Arizona are unable to come to a mutually acceptable child custody agreement, the court steps in to make important decisions. Being as prepared as possible before and during the proceedings can help a parent ease their apprehension and present a compelling argument to the judge who will be determining such things as custody arrangements and visitation schedules. There is no secret for success during a hearing of this nature, but there are some common pieces of advice that can be helpful.
Being prepared for arguments during a child custody hearing means that a parent should be able to discuss clear, organized plans for caring for their child. A judge may also ask about arrangements with childcare while a parent is working or the living situation if a parent only has one bedroom. While a custody hearing is usually smaller and more intimate, it’s still advised that parents dress conservatively and act respectfully toward one another.
Parties typically expected to speak at a custody hearing include both parents and the child, if he or she is capable of making a well-informed decision. Witnesses can also speak on behalf of each parent. Such individuals might include teachers, babysitters, friends, co-workers and other parties who may discuss their observations specific to the relationship between a custody-seeking parent and their child and explain which parent they believe should have custody. The judge will determine which parent is the custodial parent. A visitation schedule is also prepared for the non-custodial parent.
A family law attorney may help a client prepare for a child custody hearing by asking practice questions likely to be asked by the judge or the other parent’s legal representation. Appeals to custody rulings can be made as long as the decisions are final and not temporary interlocutory orders. A lawyer may also be able to take steps to seek reasonable adjustments to court-determined visitation arrangements.