A Child Custody battle can be an excruciating experience, but with the right preparation, attitude, and legal counsel you’ll have a much easier time navigating the sometimes-intimidating world of family law. Here are a few things to keep in mind when preparing for your case, especially in the state of Georgia:
1) Georgia courts are a mess right now, but you can still move forward
Covid-19 has thrown a huge monkey wrench in the normal day-to-day business of Georgia courts, with most in-person and all jury-dependent proceedings on hold until at least the end of September. However, don’t let that prevent you from moving forward with your child custody case: at Debranski & Associates we’ve been handling family law cases throughout shelter-in-place, relying on remote mediation and electronic communication with the courts to help bring about resolution for our clients. Don’t put things off because you’re uncertain of the state of the courts in your area – reach out to us and we’ll assist in any way we can.
2) Always remember “The Best Interest of the Child”
No matter where you are or the particulars of your situation, this will be the guiding principle of the judge deciding on your custody case. If you want full or primary custody of your child you need to show that this outcome is what’s best for your child, and that involves being on your best behavior in every way. This means maintaining a healthy and wholesome environment for your child: keeping the house clean and safe, doing fun activities with your child, and of course avoiding “bad behavior” (drugs, excessive drinking) that could reflect poorly on you. This also includes maintaining a civil relationship with your ex to show how responsible and flexible you can be in the situation. Which brings us to…
3) Always Be Good, or at Least Civil, With Your Ex
This can be hard, but it will rewarding in the end. A judge will have a difficult time finding that you are the more fit parent if your ex comes to court armed with angry text messages or emails you’ve sent, voicemails you’ve left, or testimony about you repeatedly being late or absent for custody handoffs. Show that you’re willing to work with your ex, that any lack of communication or cooperation isn’t coming from your side, and it will definitely make a difference in the eyes of the judge.
4) Document EVERYTHING
We advise across the board for any legal case, but Family Law can be particularly intangible, so any documentation you can show proving your fitness as a parent will come in handy to prove your case. Evidence of doctor visits, receipts for child support and essentials (childcare, clothing, food), documentation of school or community activities, anything can help. You can even enlist character testimony of people in your life who have witnessed these events and can testify with firsthand knowledge of your involvement with your child.
5) Make a Good Impression
Even if you don’t physically set foot in a courthouse, there’s still a chance you may have to speak with a judge remotely, perhaps via videoconference, and if this is the case you want to be prepared. Dress appropriately, have your documentation prepared and organized, address the court with respect, don’t interrupt the judge or other people’s testimony. You’re there to show you’re the more fit parent to care for your child, and you’ll have a hard time proving that if you come off as unprofessional and disrespectful during the court proceeding itself.
Ready to take that next step? Reach out to Debranski & Associates today: we can help with providing remote mediation, and if the courts begin to open up we can help you schedule a hearing so you get your date in court.