If you are seeking custody of your child during a divorce, several steps are required. The following five are the very first steps to getting custody.
Step #1: Study
There is nothing more valuable than knowledge. Learn all that you can about your state and local custody laws. Read past cases in the public record that deal with parents winning custody, and study how they won.
It is important to know your local laws because every state is different. You will need to be prepared for whatever may happen in the courtroom.
Step #2: Secure a Lawyer
This step isn't mandatory, but it is recommended. A custody battle is not a do-it-yourself job unless you have a legal background. Self-representation is an option, but your chances of winning are greatly increased when represented by a lawyer.
If you're not interested in being represented by a lawyer, you should still talk to one, such as those at Knollmeyer Law Office. It is crucial to know all that you can before entering the courtroom, and a consultation can provide invaluable information.
Step #3: Complete the Forms
When filing for custody, contact your local court regarding the forms you will need to fill out. Paperwork sounds simple, but in a court of law it must be properly completed, otherwise it can become useless. A lawyer can also assist you in completing the proper forms in the correct manner.
Step #4: Filing
Go to your local courthouse and ask about the filing procedure, preferably before filing. In most states, you will file in the court, but in some you will be able to file online. You can also request that your lawyer file for you.
Step #5: Prepare for the Hearing
A hearing will be scheduled after the paperwork has been filed. The hearing itself is where you will see a judge, plead your case, and receive a decision.
Most courts require more than one visit by both parties in order to judge fairly; however, some may rule after one visit. Regardless, it is important to carry yourself appropriately, be dressed suitably, and show your respect for the judge's time. Be prepared to deliver your argument thoroughly and concisely, and also be prepared to answer questions.
Gaining custody may or may not be a long battle. If you follow these five first steps and spend time educating yourself and preparing, you can rest assured you are taking the best actions possible to winning custody.