By: Leslie Barrows
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Divorcing with Children 105: How to Prepare for Court
Tips on How to Prepare for Court when Divorcing with Children
Learn how the divorce process works and always prepare for court. When divorcing with children, knowing what to expect is the key to being prepared for negotiation and litigation. When you meet with your divorce attorney or talk to one of the paralegals or staff at the office, make sure you understand what we are doing so we can best help you. We do not expect you to be a divorce or child custody expert. The more you understand the process and substance of your case, the better you can prepare for court when divorcing with children.
Actively participate in divorce and custody negotiations. You are the one who will be living with the outcome of mediating, negotiating and litigating children’s issues and matters of money and property. For example, if you are fighting for the house, are you sure you will be able to maintain it? As your divorce and child custody attorneys, we can give you advice about your rights and obligations, but we are not the ones who will live with your decisions every day. Being prepared for court means being prepared to make decisions you can live with long-term.
Focus on your kids and decrease emotional reactivity. Your opposing party and opposing counsel may make you angry. Your ability to control your emotions and shut your anger down gives you power. When you have power over yourself and your emotions, you are in the best position to focus on your children and make them feel safe and secure.
Leslie Barrows and the Barrows Firm Prepare You for Court
Leslie and her team let you know what information and documents they need to represent you. When preparing your discovery responses, be as thorough as possible. The more accurate information you share with your divorce lawyer, the better they can anticipate and handle problems that may arise, such as attacks on your character from the opposing party.
The Barrows Firm website is full of blog articles and podcasts, searchable on the website by topic. Every divorce and child custody case is unique. Some cases involve extensive discovery and temporary orders hearings, and others may not. If you do have a question and are on the Barrows Firm website you can find some direction. For example, an article titled, What are geographic restriction orders affecting children in Texas family law cases?
Managing your divorce and custody negotiation and litigation strategy is an important part of the preparation for mediation, hearings, and court trials. Sometimes your opponent may be asking for more than you think they deserve, and it’s all about leverage for settlement. Your opponent’s attorney may be the one driving the bus in a different direction you would have expected. Leslie Barrows has been practicing divorce and family law in Tarrant and Denton Counties for many years and she knows what to expect and how to best prepare her clients for what may happen during their case.
Insights About Child Custody Options in Texas
There is a trend toward shared parenting, also known as 50/50 custody in Texas. There are several states that start with an equal parenting time model. Note that while people say “custody” they really are talking about parenting time with their children. 50/50 is always an option for parents who negotiate and settle on an agreed parenting plan. If you and the other parent can get along and co-parent well, this may be a great option for your family.
If there is no agreed parenting plan, the court appoints one party as having exclusive rights to designate primary residence and the other right to possession. In these cases, the standard possession orders adopted by the court in your county will apply.
Here is additional information about the standard possession order and parenting time.
The Role of a Child Custody Evaluator in Texas
You or the opposing party can request the Court order child custody evaluation. Working well with the evaluator is important to prepare for court. Leslie Barrows can help you prepare your expectations of a child custody evaluator process when divorcing with children.
Be prepared for the judge to give great weight to the recommendations of the custody evaluator. Of course, the evaluator’s report can be challenged when necessary. What is most important to the court making findings for child custody and parenting time is what is in the best interest of the child. It is in a child’s best interest to have good relationships with both parents, without abuse, neglect, or parental alienation.
The Tarrant County, Texas Domestic Relations Office offers additional detailed information about custody evaluations.
Being Prepared for Expert Psychologists in Texas Custody Hearings and Trials
When a parent’s credibility and parenting ability is challenged, an expert psychologist may be appointed. Their goal is to focus on honesty and integrity, and their role in examining a parent seeking custody and parenting time. This is not routine, but it does happen in high-conflict custody cases.
Preparing to respond to the examiner’s questions can be a challenge. It may seem like the questions are designed to trick, attack or otherwise put you in a bad light. Sometimes what they are testing is how you respond to that type of questioning and not the substance of the questions themselves. Attorney Barrows may cross-examine the expert psychologist about their results if necessary. How to prepare for court is being prepared to put your best foot forward, especially when experts psychologists may be involved.
Contact Attorney Leslie Barrows at the Barrows Firm in Southlake
Leslie Barrows and her team of divorce lawyers and paralegals know how much is at stake in your case. Your family matters and it matters to Leslie and the Barrows Firm. To learn more about your rights and options and how to prepare for what may lie ahead, call the Barrows Firm in Southlake and learn how to prepare for court when divorcing with children at (817) 481-1583.