Fighting the battle for custody of your children can take a toll on parents. An attorney understands just how complex and emotional such a situation can be. When getting prepared for a court hearing, it can help to brush up on legal terminology, familiarize yourself with state laws, and submit the necessary paperwork to the court about why you want custody of your child. If you need guidance, then a legal team can offer advice on how to showcase yourself in the best light possible when in front of the judge. 

The Difference Between Joint Vs. Sole Custody

Your attorney can explain the differences between joint custody and sole custody to you during an in-person appointment. Sole custody entails both physical and legal custody, and joint custody does not. When a judge awards sole custody to one parent, this means they have the child live with them and are responsible for making decisions based on their well being. Joint custody may refer to physical custody only, legal custody only, or both.

So, the judge could award both parents joint legal custody, but one parent physical custody. This means that the child would live with one parent consistently, while both make decisions together about medical care, religion, education, and more. The judge will create an arrangement that is in the best interest of the child’s growth. 

Factors the Judge Will Consider

Ultimately, the judge will prioritize what arrangement is in the best interest of the child, and not necessarily the parents. A parent who is interested in winning sole custody must be prepared to explain why joint custody is not going to be beneficial to the child. If the other parent has ever been violent or neglectful towards you and/or the child, then that is something to share with your attorney at the very first consultation. They will do everything in their power to see that you and your child feel safe. 

Courtroom Attire and Etiquette

Parents who are aiming to win sole custody must use proper etiquette for the courtroom. This means not interrupting the judge, remaining level-headed, speaking directly to or in reference to the other parent with respect, and not escalating to emotional outbursts, no matter how difficult the moment gets. An attorney can go with clients to their hearing if they feel like they will need extra support in the courtroom. We strongly advise dressing the part as well, including a dark suit, nice shoes, and hair well kempt. 

Parents who are nervous to attend their child custody hearing, can rely on experienced and compassionate legal assistance. They can imagine the stress and anxiety you may be going through, and will do whatever is within their legal grounds  to help. Don’t hesitate to call today for a free, zero obligation consultation with an attorney, like a family lawyer in Lake Forest, IL from Hurst, Robin & Kay, LLC, to find out more.