This is the second in a series of posts of simple reminders for those traveling down a family law litigation path.
The ABC’s of Divorce and Child Custody, Continued:
Do allow the facts to speak for themselves and do not let yourself get caught up in a mud-slinging battle when it is not necessary. Your attorney has done a lot of work putting together your petition or motion, which the hearing officer or judge has read prior to your hearing and will have knowledge of the important facts. Make sure you discuss with your attorney prior to the hearing a bullet point list of specific issues to address.Do not get side-tracked into “trashing” the other party. The judge or hearing officer does not want to hear you talk about how much you hate your ex. Let the facts of the situation, not your (biased)opinions, speak loud and clear to the hearing officer or judge.
Everything does not always go as planned, and, as a result, sometimes you just have to roll with the punches. The Louisiana court system is set up as a process … a long and sometimes drawn-out process. From the getgo, I am always upfront about the anticipated legal timeline with clients and am careful never to guarantee that something will happen by a certain date. I can absolutely provide an estimate of what time frame to expect, but many time lines are out of my control and, while I would love to, I simply cannot make your case move faster. It is just not that easy. You need to have patience, but faith in the system and the law that your case will be heard as soon as possible.
Focus on the important matters. Do not get caught up in “winning” the hearing. In an ideal world, a child would have two healthy parents who are able to communicate and co-parent effectively. Step back and think about what is best for your child. The default custody arrangement in Louisiana is joint custody and the courts strive to make each parent equally involved in the child or life. Do not let yourself get stuck in a tug ‘o war over your child just so you can “win” custody. Focus on the facts that your child needs both parents on a regular basis and, after all, the court is looking out for the child’s best interest.