How Long Does it Take to Go to Child Custody Court? 

If you’re involved in a child custody dispute, it’s natural to wonder how long it will take to go to court. While each case is different, the process generally involves several court appearances and meetings that may last months or even years. 

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When you’re ready to get started, file with your state’s custody court as soon as possible. Depending on the rules in your state, this can be done either in person or online. It’s a good idea to speak with an attorney before you begin the process so that you can make sure you’re following all the right steps. 

Getting Started

When you file for custody, it’s important to have all the correct paperwork in place. This includes filing the proper forms and documents, completing your petition in its entirety, and attaching a parenting plan to it. 

You should also have a good reason for filing your custody request and for asking for sole custody, or custody with supervised visitation. For example, if you have evidence that your spouse has been violent or abusive towards you, you should bring that information to the court. It’s also helpful to have police reports and medical records that can show abuse or neglect. 

Bringing all the necessary documents and evidence to court is an essential part of the process, as the judge will be looking at this as an opportunity to decide how best to care for your child. It’s also a good idea to have your lawyer present during the hearing so that they can help you make an effective argument for why sole custody is in your child’s best interests. 

Going to court requires preparation

You and your lawyer will need to prepare for the custody proceeding, including researching the law and knowing how to present your arguments in a way that will impress the judge. It’s a good idea to have role-playing sessions to practice scenarios that you might be confronted with in court. 

The judge will consider many factors when making a decision about your child’s custody, such as their relationship with each parent and the reasons for the divorce or separation. Typically, the best interests of the child are the primary factor in this decision. 

In addition, the judge will want to consider whether there’s been any significant change in your circumstances that could have affected the relationship between you and your child. For example, if you’ve become pregnant or had a child, the judge might consider this a significant change in your relationship with the child and a good reason for granting you custody. 

Getting to Court 

The first thing that happens after you file a petition for custody is the court schedules a preliminary conference. During this meeting, the judge will address the parties and may meet with them privately. 

Once the initial conference is completed, a case will be scheduled for mediation (if you haven’t already done so). Mediation is a voluntary process in which the parents and their lawyers try to come to an agreement about issues like child support and custody.