How you present evidence at your custody hearing can determine whether you win your case. Even if the facts are on your side, you must still present the information to the court effectively. It’s important to understand New Jersey laws for child custody hearings as you prepare for your day in court.
Understanding the proofs in a custody hearing
If you attend a custody hearing seeking a modification in the custody order, winning is a two-step process. First, the parent seeking the change must prove that the circumstances surrounding the child have changed. The change must be significant. A temporary job loss or a parent wanting to move closer to a new romantic interest are unlikely, by themselves, to represent the kind of change that meets this burden.
Once the parent shows that there is a change in circumstances, they must show that it is in the best interests of the child to modify custody. New Jersey custody and visitation laws instruct the court to consider a number of factors like the child’s education, the stability of their home life, and whether there is a history of domestic violence.
Presenting evidence in a custody hearing
It’s important to prepare for the hearing by gathering evidence because the parent wanting the change has the burden of proof. Testimony from parents may be key. Friends and family, teachers, counselors, and psychologists may also make valuable witnesses. They may be ordered to court through a subpoena.
Criminal, employment, and medical records may be critical to demonstrating changes that will provide for the best interests of the children. A party should prepare their evidence and anticipate what they expect the other parent to present to the court. Remember that there are court rules that control the reception of evidence.
Preparing for a family court hearing
When you understand what’s required of you, you can prepare for your child custody hearing effectively. Evidence may take significant time to gather. By carefully preparing your case, you can give the court the information that they need to make the right decision for your child and for your family.