Divorced or unmarried parents in Pennsylvania must establish a schedule for shared child custody or visitation. A court will determine which parent qualifies as the custodial parent and when the children have time with the noncustodial parent. People naturally feel under pressure when access to their children is concerned, and they should prepare to answer specific questions from the judge.
A judge could ask about arrangements for daycare or babysitting for young children or if a parent has a suitable home for children. Parents should also exhibit an ability to provide emotional support for their children. A person could bring along teachers or babysitters familiar with the parent to offer testimony about the person's good character and relationship with the children. The judge will also speak with the other parent and may question older children, school officials or custody adjudicators to learn their opinions about the custody situation. Ideally, parents will project themselves as responsible adults. Conservative clothing and hairstyles could contribute to this goal.
Family courts process multiple custody hearings a day, and people need to know ahead of time what they want to say. Time will likely be limited, and arguments promoting the parent's position should be succinct. The judge will likely make an immediate decision after hearing all sides.
The representation of an attorney might help a person practice what to say in court. An attorney may help keep the focus on the best interests of the child when preparing a statement for the judge. Legal support might also prove beneficial if someone needs to petition a court for a child custody modification due to changed circumstances like parental relocation. An attorney might file the proper court papers and guide the person through court procedures.