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What to do before a child custody hearing

Parents in Tennessee and throughout the country who are looking to obtain custody of their children will first need to attend a hearing. To prepare, they should read up on the custody laws in the state and how they may apply in a given case. Furthermore, it is a good idea to bring documentation showing that a parent has played an active role in a child's life.

These documents may include proof of child support payments or logs detailing phone or email conversations between the parent and child. During the hearing itself, an individual should remain calm and polite. Yelling at the judge or the other parent could reduce the likelihood that he or she will be seen as the better parent to grant custody to. Generally speaking, there is no need for outbursts as the child custody hearing process tends not to be an adversarial one.

Those who attend a child custody hearing should dress appropriately for a court setting. This generally means wearing formal clothing or anything else that helps communicate that a person is an adult capable of making sound decisions. In most cases, a ruling is made shortly after a judge hears from both parents. If a parent disagrees with the ruling, he or she is allowed to appeal it.

When a person has a child, he or she is typically responsible for providing for its emotional and financial needs. However, it may be necessary to take a paternity test to determine if an individual is actually a child's parent. Once paternity is established, an individual may ask for legal or physical custody of the child. If that request is denied, the parent may have to settle for visitation rights and pay child support to the custodial parent.

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