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What to do in a child custody hearing

Ohio parents who are involved in a child custody dispute may be tempted to try to convince the court that they are more fit to be the custodial parent. However, this can backfire. If a parent appears to be bitter toward the other parent, the judge may conclude that parent is less fit because of an unwillingness to compromise. The parent should also avoid speaking on behalf of the child because this could also create a negative impression on the judge. Most older children will have the opportunity to state a preference about which parent they would like to live with.

Well-meaning family and friends may push a parent to demand more child support or time with the child. While it can be easy to get swept up in these emotions, parents should not deviate from the strategy they have worked out with their attorney. Furthermore, pressing on some of these issues could turn the divorce more contentious than it needs to be.

Parents should participate actively in the process, and this means researching and understanding custody laws instead of simply relying on their attorneys. They should be discreet about who they discuss the case with, including friends and the other parent.

The process of negotiating child custody or going through a custody hearing to have a judge decide can be difficult and emotional. However, parents should keep in mind that family law is generally focused on ensuring that the child is able to have a relationship with both parents. If there are circumstances that put the child in danger, such as an abusive parent, the other parent should discuss with the attorney how to best present this information to the judge.

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