The media makes it appear as though fathers no longer face some discrimination in courtrooms when it comes to gaining custody of their children. That may be true in some jurisdictions, but here in Louisiana, you will probably face an uphill battle if you want custody of your children.
The importance of fathers in the lives of their children continues to gain momentum in the courts, but a long way to go remains. That is not to say that you cannot obtain custody of your children or a closer to 50/50 parenting time arrangement. It simply means that you will want to prepare for your hearing and leave little to nothing to chance.
How can you accomplish this?
Preparation becomes a priority when you are attempting to convince a court that may have some bias against you because you are a father that you are the better parent. In order to increase your chances of success, it may help to take the following steps in advance of your hearing:
- Make sure that you have all of the necessary documentation with you. Gather it all in enough time that you don’t have to rush, and keep it where you will not forget it as you head out to your hearing.
- Make sure that you understand that certain behaviors will reflect poorly on you with the judge. Remaining calm and polite is essential since the court would view any outbursts poorly.
- Gain as much of an understanding of Louisiana’s child custody laws as possible. The more you know, the better off and less stressed you will be.
- Gain an understanding of what attributes the court looks for when applying the “better parent standard” to your case. Instead of spending too much time attempting to make the children’s mother look bad, make sure that you spend more of your time making yourself look good.
- Make sure you dress appropriately for court. You don’t necessarily have to wear a suit, but your clothes need to be clean, pressed and formal, which means no jeans or t-shirts.
- Understand that the court may make a decision regarding custody at your hearing.
You only get one chance to make a good impression. Even though judges must remain impartial, they are human. A judge’s first impression of you will stick in his or her mind throughout the remainder of the hearing. The better that impression is, the more smoothly your portion of the case may go. Of course, nothing can guarantee the decision that a judge will make, but the better prepared you are, the better off you will be.