In North Carolina, if you're preparing for a child custody hearing, you're probably feeling concerned and worried. At this stage, you've most likely already attended the state-required mediation program and were unable to agree with your former or soon-to-be former spouse. This might be your first child custody hearing—and that can also be overwhelming! One way to ease some of the stress is to understand what you can do to prepare for the hearing.
What Happens at a Hearing?
Frequently, child custody hearings last between 60 and 120 minutes. It's important that you allow enough time to arrive at the courthouse early so that you can connect with your attorney beforehand. If you miss your hearing, the judge may find you in contempt of court, which could negatively affect the judge's decision.
At a child custody hearing in North Carolina, the judge will usually have read through any pertinent information beforehand. Even though they've probably read the file, you'll still want to present any relevant information.
Make sure that you bring any relevant documents with you to court—this can be from your own records, child support payments, or anything else pertinent to your case. Your attorney will be able to help you identify what documentation is critical.
Approach the child custody hearing as if it's a job interview—dress nicely. Although the hearing isn't a job interview for paid employment, it is an opportunity for you to present yourself to the judge as a candidate for the job of parenting.
Consult an Attorney
An attorney can help you understand what to expect at the hearing—things like the order of the proceedings, appropriate courtroom etiquette, and more. They'll understand the intricacies of child custody laws in North Carolina and be able to advise you on the best approach.
Experienced North Carolina Family Law Attorney
Child custody hearings may be the most stressful part of a divorce proceeding for a couple who shares children. If you have questions about your child custody hearing, or are considering a child custody hearing, here at Jerkins Family Law, we want to help. Call us today at 919-719-2785, or reach out online.