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What can I expect during a custody hearing?

On Behalf of | Feb 5, 2020 | Child Custody, Firm News |

Custody hearings are usually stressful for parents. The court wants to make a decision that serves the best interest of the child at the center of the dispute, so it is important for parents to present their cases correctly during the trial. Knowing what to expect can help you and your lawyer designer a good strategy to present your case. 

Children of a certain age have a say in custody decisions 

While younger children are not allowed to make their own decisions when it comes to child custody hearings, children over 14 are allowed to decide. Additionally, children over 14 are also allowed to change their living situation every two years after making the initial decision. Parents are also allowed to make modifications to their custody arrangements once every two years. In order for modifications to take place, the court will review the case and accept any new evidence presented. 

It is best for parents to create their own schedule 

While the court can develop and impose a parenting schedule for you, parents are encouraged to do so on their own. If you are sharing custody, the schedule should illustrate who has custody during certain time periods. For example, you and your spouse might alternate weeks or days according to your needs. Parents with sole custody will also need to develop a visitation schedule with the non-custodial parent. The court prefers that families make their own schedules because they know their needs best. 

Non-custodial parents do no have legal custody 

Non-custodial parents will be able to see their child according to the visitation schedule decided on at court. They will not be able to make decisions on behalf of the child when it comes to major issues, such as education and healthcare. Only parents with joint custody can share in this decision-making process, and this is known as having legal custody over a child.