In Part 1 of Litigating the Child Custody Case we discussed the fact that child custody cases are numerous in the North Carolina court system and include some of the most difficult decisions that judges have to make. This article will discuss some of the preparation needed to make a persuasive child custody argument in court.
Preparation for a child custody trial begins by learning the law. North Carolina General Statutes sections 50-13.1 through 50-13.9, and Chapter 50A of the statutes, provide the blueprint for trial court judges and lawyers in all child custody cases. Important case law decisions should be reviewed long before the trial date, and those decisions can be found in law school libraries throughout the state. The importance of knowing the law cannot be overemphasized, and it is this factor that makes hiring a lawyer a great strategic advantage.
After leaning the law, child custody litigants should be prepared to describe the case to a judge in a way that provides context and helps the judge make a fair decision in the best interest of the children. How the parents met, when and where they married, when they had children, what they named the children, and whether they have children from other marriages provide foundational information for the judge. Other important information would include employment history, educational background, medical history (including mental), and the type of home environment each party grew up in.