Throughout custody hearings, (especially highly contested hearings) it is imperative for you to keep in mind that your actions or in-actions are being noticed by the courts and all those involved in the custody hearing. Never assume that something you may have done in your past, (even if you think no one knows about) will not come out in court. Most likely, during litigation, someone will find out about what you have concerns about and want to keep hidden. However, the worst thing you can do is hide something like a previous domestic assault or child endangerment charge from your lawyer. No one likes to be surprised by things they did not know or have not prepared for in court, especially your attorney who is there to fight for you.
Parents involved in a heated custody battle want to look as good as possible to gain an advantage with the courts and no one wants to have to admit previous mistakes. However, the importance of being honest with the person who is working for you during litigation can be a major deciding factor in how your case is handled in court and may affect the outcome of your case.
We are all human and have made mistakes or poor choices from time to time, and most lawyers have seen and heard a lot; so do not be afraid or embarrassed to discuss any topics or concerns with your attorney. The more an attorney knows about you and your circumstances and what may “pop up” at trial, the more effectively they can prepare and deliver the best possible legal representation for you and your custody negotiations. Your attorney needs to know all the facts so they can decide on the most effective way to deal with any issues before they arise in court during a cross examination. Knowing as much as possible can help your attorney to be as prepared as possible.
Presenting information for the court as to your ability and desire to be the best parent you can for your child(ren) is also very important. Tell your attorney all the things you do for your child(ren). Let them know if you coach your child or work in volunteer groups for him or her. Discuss the volunteer work you may do with your community. Keep record of your involvement with the school and your child’s day to day life. Keep track of your regular payments of any support you are making, or any bills you are paying on your child’s behalf. Keeping a log of your visitations (if you think they will come into question) is also a good idea.
The importance of an attorney is an important one and should not be solely based on advertising.