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What to show the court at a child custody hearing

The way that the courtroom process is set up, it tends to pit one side against the other. This adversarial system may work well in many disputes. However, when it comes to child custody hearings, the courts here in New Jersey are like courts across the country in that they do not necessarily want to see the parents as adversaries.

So how does a parent present him or herself to the court? Obviously, if the parties were able to work out an agreement on their own, they would not need the court’s assistance in a matter as important as the custody of children. While that may be true, sometimes, parents just have trouble agreeing on the final details. That does not necessarily mean they cannot work together as parents. To that end, the courts usually want to see the following:

  • A desire to spend as much time with the children as he or she can
  • A concerted effort to keep the children out of the proceedings and not put them in the middle
  • Makes sure to stick to the schedule already in place for parenting time
  • Arrives on time for pickup s and drop-offs
  • Took the time to gain at least a basic understanding of the child custody laws here in New Jersey
  • A willingness to put aside his or her feelings for the other parent on a personal level and work with the other party for the sake of the children

One thing that the courts will not want to see in a child custody hearing is “mudslinging” by either parent. Despite what happened to the marital relationship, they will always share their children. Keeping their best interests in mind is the court’s mandate when it comes to child custody, and judges tend to expect parents to do the same.