Parents in California who have to go to a child custody hearing for the first time may be understandably nervous. However, there are some steps they can take to prepare for the hearing, present an effective case and possibly obtain the child custody terms that they desire.

The first step in preparing for a child custody hearing is to understand the state laws. Getting current on child custody laws can help parents understand the issues that they may encounter at the hearing. If there’s confusion over legal matters, a parent could create a list of questions to pose to their attorney.

Parents with impending child custody hearings should also have a firm grasp of the better-parent standard. This is applicable when a parent is requesting sole child custody. Based on the standard, the family court has to be shown that one parent is better than the other. However, this can be very difficult to prove. In order to prepare for the child custody hearing, one should learn about what factors the courts will be examining when implementing the better parent standard. Furthermore, an attorney could help a parent present themselves as the better child caregiver.

Having the right documentation at the child custody hearing is also important. An attorney may advise a client to bring verification of child support payments, annotated visitation schedules, phone logs and more.

With proper legal assistance, a parent could achieve fair child custody and visitation terms. If necessary, legal counsel could present a compelling argument for why their client should be considered the better parent. Assistance may also be provided for obtaining child custody order modifications.