Posted on: 13 November 2014Share
If you're struggling to regain visitation rights that were lost during or following your divorce proceedings, there are certain steps you need to take to improve your chances during a custody hearing. Documented proof, a presentable appearance, and sticking to the facts are a good start, but in most cases you'll need more. If you're hoping to change an existing custody agreement, you need to know what to bring, how to prepare, and just what kind of effort you'll need to expend to make it possible.
Custody agreements are difficult to alter by design simply because most judges don't want a ruling overturned without good cause. For this reason, the courts often require considerable documentation that goes back several months at the very least. This is especially true when it comes to income verification, which is often required of non-custodial parents who have lost visitation rights for some reason.
Documentation must be verifiable for between six months and a year when it comes to income, housing and your ability to provide for your child's needs. This includes making regular payments of any alimony or child support you have agreed to pay. Depending on the reason you lost visitation rights originally, there may be even more severe steps you need to undertake to prove you are able to provide a stable and safe environment for your child.
When you do appear in family court, it's best to have licensed legal representation in order to ensure that any documents are in order and that you are made aware of any legal rights you have. Make sure that you present an appropriate image to the judge who will have the final say in the matter. Avoid outbursts as much as possible, as it speaks to your character as an adult and as a parent.
If it becomes necessary to speak to your former spouse, be civil and polite. Even if you don't like each other and can't find any common ground during the hearing there is no point to damage your chances by putting on a show of it during the hearing. At best, it's something the judge will frown on, and at worst, it will cost you your visitation rights.
Recovering visitation or custody rights to your child after having them stripped can be a long road back into the good graces of the courts. Getting it right is worth the time and effort required though, because it will mean being able to spend time with your child on your terms again. Your lawyer, like form Mills & Mills Law Group, will help you through the process.