Parents in Michigan who have pending child custody cases must be prepared to fight. Although many people have attorney representation, you can represent yourself in court. This is known as pro se custody.
Understanding pro se child custody
When you and your former spouse have a custody hearing, you don’t have to have a lawyer representing you in court. Instead, you can opt for pro se child custody, which means you represent yourself in the case. However, when going this route, it’s wise to first determine the options available to you. Legal representation often increases a person’s chances in court.
How to approach going into the hearing
Before you go to court, you should do your homework and know state laws. It gives you a better understanding of what to expect and the actions to take in your custody case. Researching as much as possible might give you an edge.
You should be prepared to negotiate with your former spouse in court. A good way to start is to present a few parenting plans and custody schedules. Even if your former spouse disagrees with one, it doesn’t mean they won’t be amenable to another. Just as the court keeps what’s in the child’s best interests at the forefront, so should you.
Gather as much strong evidence as possible that shows the judge that you deserve child custody. This should include anything from school records, photos with your child, correspondence and even parenting journal entries. You can also present witnesses who can attest to your character as a great parent. Witnesses can be family members or teachers or experts like social workers or doctors.
Remain composed during the custody hearing. Lashing out at your former spouse can only work against you. If you remain calm and level-headed during the proceedings, the judge is more likely to see you in a positive light.