Georgia parents who are preparing to participate in a child custody hearing might be curious as to what to expect during the hearing. Their concerns might include how to dress, how to prepare and what will actually happen the day of the court appearance.

The first thing they should know is that child custody court hearings tend to be done in a limited time as judges often hear multiple cases each day. During the hearing, several people might offer testimony, including both parents, their witnesses and the children if they are old enough to participate in the hearing. Parents can expect a judge’s decision on the matter quickly. Usually, judges will hear both sides and then determine who the custodial parent will be. Judges will work toward creating child custody and visitation arrangements to issue a visitation schedule after hearing testimony. These types of court hearings are also usually set in smaller, intimate settings.

In order to prepare for the hearing, parents should anticipate the questions they will be asked about their parenting and plan detailed answers. They should also gather witnesses, such as teachers and babysitters, who can tell the judge about their good parenting skills and practices. Parents should also prepare physically before the court date; they should wear conservative clothing with make-up and hairstyles that show the judge they are responsible adults ready to take care of their children. Appearances do matter, so parents should strive to look professional and put together on their court hearing date.

One way to prepare for such an important court appearance is by meeting a family law lawyer ahead of time. The lawyer may help parents plan answers to the anticipated questions and advise about the witnesses they can choose to support them in court. A lawyer may also make sure the right forms have been filled out and filed when necessary.