Parents in Colorado who are going through a divorce have to consider their children first. It’s important to be prepared for a child custody hearing.
Understand the laws
You should go into your child custody hearing understanding the state’s custody laws. Once you are familiar with those laws, it can prevent any unwanted surprises once you appear in court.
Create a parenting plan
You might want to go into your custody hearing with a proposed parenting plan. Even if you have not discussed this with the other parent, it can show the judge that you’re serious about your children and their welfare. It’s best to have something that shows that you and the other parent have equal time as it often reflects what’s in the children’s best interests.
Bring the appropriate documents
Bringing the appropriate documentation to serve as evidence in your custody hearing is important. This should include anything that reflects your relationship with your children, messages between you and the other parent, medical records, criminal records and other official documents and your proposed schedule for parenting time.
If you know people who could make good witnesses for your case, prepare to bring them to the custody hearing. They can speak on your behalf and testify about any negative behavior on the part of the other parent. Witnesses can be family members, friends, doctors, teachers or mental health professionals.
Understand proper court etiquette
Dress appropriately for court. Business casual should be fine and could include a dress shirt, slacks, blouse, skirt, jacket or dress if you’re a woman. If you’re a man, a suit jacket and pants with or without a tie should be fine. Avoid dressing casually. Behave with the proper etiquette in court as well. This means avoiding outbursts and getting overly emotional. Never curse and always be on time for your custody hearing.
Know what to expect
You can research to learn what to expect in court during the hearing. It helps when you know how the proceedings will occur, when the judge will make a decision and who might be in the courtroom.