Parents in Pennsylvania with unresolved child custody issues might be nervous about attending a family court hearing for the first time. However, there are certain things they can do to ensure that the case they present is convincing and that they have the best chance of getting the custody terms they want.

Behaving properly while at court is very important. In fact, it’s so important that parents could risk losing custody of their children for inappropriate behavior. Parents should speak with their attorney before their hearing to understanding proper courtroom etiquette and what type of behavior, such as accusatory statements or emotional outbursts, can reflect badly on them. If necessary, a parent may try to role play before the hearing in order to better understand what is expected in court.

Another important step in preparing for a child custody hearing is having a clear idea of what may take place. Custody hearings are not as adversarial as other types of court cases. Knowing what to expect before the hearing can help parents anticipate each step of the hearing. Unlike many other cases, child custody cases are not presented before a jury. Instead, they take place in front of a judge who will usually make an immediate ruling and child custody order. A parent will have a right to appeal the ruling if they are unhappy with the court’s decision, but the appeal will not be decided by a jury.

A family law attorney could assist someone who has to attend child custody hearings. The attorney may help obtain necessary documents and may advocate on behalf of the client during the hearing by presenting an effective case. If necessary, legal counsel may present evidence in front of the family court judge that shows their client as the better choice for having sole custody of the children.