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Tips for going to court on your child custody case

Child custody cases can be fraught with emotion for those involved, but it is very important to always maintain your cool and the proper decorum when you are in the courtroom.

Below are some tips to keep in mind when you have pending court appearances in your child custody case.

-- Your attorney speaks for you. Speak only when spoken to, and always be polite when addressing the judge by referring to him or her as "Your Honor."

-- Dress as instructed by your attorney, but always err on the side of being conservative.

-- Don't make dramatic reactions to testimony, roll your eyes or make inappropriate faces or gestures.

-- Bring a pen and pad and take notes of what is said and done in court.

-- Bring everything that you could conceivably need, and have it organized and quickly accessible.

If you have questions about the proceedings, address them with your attorney in the days or weeks leading up to your court date.

Sometimes it might appear that the judge is biased, and that may very well be the case. Judges have the same foibles and preconceived notions as everyone else does, and those can color the decisions they hand down from the bench. Your attorney will do everything possible to set the stage for the decision to go in your favor, but that is never a given.

Even if the judge decides something you don't want to hear, that is not necessarily the end of the matter. You and your attorney can always appeal the child custody decision and work towards a better outcome.

Source: Children's Rights Council, "Courtroom Tips," accessed Aug. 04, 2016

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