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Create a positive impression at child custody hearings

Divorce is rarely easy, and, even after a settlement, former spouses often face ongoing legal problems. Continued discord may be associated with child custody or other matters concerning the care and upbringing of children. Louisiana parents are advised to keep in mind the apparent importance of creating a positive first impression when appearing at a court-ordered hearing to discuss such issues.    

More than 60 counties in another state require parents to attend alternative hearing procedures before the court rules on custody-related issues. Known as a "custody conciliation conference," such a hearing is designed as a pre-trial mediation meeting. The officer overseeing the hearing then has the authority to make recommendations to the court. 

Apparently, a parent who comes to a custody conciliation conference well-prepared and presents a positive impression often has an advantage in obtaining a favorable outcome at a later custody trial. It has been said that launching into an attack against the other parent or submitting outrageous demands may negatively impact a hearing officer's recommendation. Typically, a final court decision will coincide with the suggestions made after an alternative hearing procedure.

Laws governing child custody vary by state. Anyone facing such issues in Louisiana will want to seek clarification of state rules and regulations, in addition to information about any pre-trial meeting one might be required to attend. Obtaining answers to these and other questions ahead of time helps one make informed decisions as the legal process unfolds. The court has the final say, but will often take a parent's needs and requests into consideration; therefore, seeking legal guidance as to how best to present one's thoughts to the court is often key toward a positive outcome. 

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