Five Tips to Prepare for a Child Custody Hearing in Arizona
A child custody hearing represents one of the most significant of proceedings held in divorce, legal separation, or paternity cases. Because of the significant nature of a child custody hearing, a parent needs to be well prepared for the proceeding. There are five key tips to bear in mind when preparing for a child custody hearing.
Obtain and Organize Documents
The evidence presented at a child custody hearing usually includes various types of documents. As part of preparing for a child custody hearing, a parent needs to make certain that he or she has obtained appropriate documentation support in support of his or her position regarding a custodial arrangement. Moreover, a parent must be certain to place the documentation in a logical, appropriate order for presentation to the judge during the court hearing.
Both parents involved in a custody dispute typically testify at a child custody hearing. In fact, oftentimes the testimony of the parents represent the most important evidence to be presented at this type of judicial proceeding. Part of preparing for a custody hearing involves a parent focusing on his or her testimony. In addition, a parent must be ready and able to respond to cross-examination put forth by the other parent. Cross-examination can include tough questioning, and a parent must be braced for that prospect.
Identify and Prepare Witnesses
Other individuals are likely to be important witnesses in a custody hearing. These people oftentimes include family members and professionals, like social workers. These witnesses need to be identified well in advance of a hearing. The need to be subpoenaed by the court to ensure that they appear. These witnesses must be properly prepped in advance of the hearing date as well, and not subjected to a last minute update on the case.
Understand Basic Procedures
A parent must also make certain that he or she has a basic understanding of the hearing process. Most courts offer written resources explaining the custody hearing process for people who do not have legal representation.
Although parents have the right to represent themselves in a custody hearing, that typically is not the wisest course of action. Ideally, a parent retains the services of an attorney with experience in family law, divorce and custody matters. Preparation leaves a parent in the best possible position to make a strong case for a custody hearing. The lack of preparation can literally doom a parent’s chances of prevailing at a custody hearing, even when the weight of the evidence otherwise would have been on that individual’s side.
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Chris Hildebrand wrote this article to ensure everyone has access to information about family law in Arizona. Chris is a divorce and family law attorney at Hildebrand Law, PC. He has over 24 years of Arizona family law experience and has received multiple awards, including US News and World Report “Top Arizona Divorce Attorneys”, Phoenix Magazine “Top Divorce Law Firms”, and Arizona Foothills Magazine “Best of the Valley” award. He believes the policies and procedures he uses to get his clients through a divorce should all be guided by the principles of honesty, integrity, and, quite frankly, actually caring about what his clients are going through in a divorce or family law case. In short, his practice is defined by the success of his clients. He also manages all of the other attorneys at his firm to make sure the outcomes in their clients’ cases are successful as well.