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Remember, appearances make a difference in court

You love your child more than anyone else. Your ex-spouse does, too, but you want to know that your child is being raised right. You want custody, and you want to make sure you're in at least some control over what happens to your child.

When you have worries about your child custody arrangements, the last thing you want to be concerned about is how a judge perceives you. How can you make sure that you don't have to worry? Taking the time to know how to present yourself is the first step.

What do the courts like to see?

Primarily, the judge wants to see you and the other parent working together for the best interests of your child. If you can't work together, the judge at least wants to see that you put your child first. Know that it's normal for the courts to award at least some visitation to the noncustodial parent, so even if you think your ex-spouse is terrible or no longer interesting, he or she may remain a part of your child's life.

That means that you can't disparage the other parent. If you do say something negative, make sure you have evidence to back up your claims. For instance, saying, "He is a bad father" won't go over as well as, "He doesn't show up on time for visits, on this date, this date and this date, he was more than two hours late or didn't show up at all."

When you appear in court, it also helps to be well-dressed, clean and calm. Act appropriately; do not interrupt the judge or act in a way that disturbs the court. Your attorney can help you prepare.

Source: The Spruce, "Who's the Better Parent in the Eyes of the Court?," Jennifer Wolf, accessed Jan. 09, 2018

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