Gearing up to face a custody case – especially if you can’t afford to hire an attorney to help you – is pretty terrifying. Though there’s no question that divorce cases are difficult, both emotionally and financially, it’s the custody cases that tend to make otherwise sane people totally panic.
It’s completely understandable. Until you and your child’s father separated, time with the kids was family time. Everyone was welcome. But now, thinking about what’s happening and what might be ordered by the judge after your hearing, it’s disconcerting to think that family time will almost certainly be separated into “his time” and “her time.” For a mom, especially a mom who has always been involved in every aspect of her child’s day to day life, that’s a pretty harrowing concept. How do you just let them go off with dad without you? You’ve been the glue that held everyone together all this time. How can you just…not? Regardless of your feelings for your child’s father, your love for your children supersedes the rest. You’d do anything to make their lives a little easier, a little better, and you never thought you’d wind up here.
It’s enough to keep you awake at night, worrying. It’s enough to make you burst in tears at a moment’s notice. We all handle stress a little differently, but there’s no right or wrong way to deal with the feelings that you’re experiencing in a custody case.
Well, maybe that’s not entirely true. There are things that you can do that will definitely keep you on the “right” side when it comes to how you’re dealing with the stress and anxiety that stems from a custody or visitation case.
For one thing, you should make sure you gather as much information as possible. No matter where you are in the process, you have to make big, important decisions—and that’s much easier to do when you have the information necessary to make informed choices.
But how do you do that? Going to law school isn’t really an option, and reading through pages and pages of Virginia Code sections and old cases is pretty boring. (Unless you just love that sort of thing, which would make you an oddball like me.)
A great place to start would be to order a copy of the “Woman’s Custody Survival Guide.” It’s free, and it’s full to bursting with the kinds of up to date, Virginia specific information you need to start making decisions about your case. In it, you’ll learn all about:
• All about the ten critical custody factors that the court MUST consider (and you must address) in your case.
• How custody, visitation, and support are handled in divorce cases in the circuit court, and how support, custody, and visitation are handled in stand alone custody cases in the juvenile and domestic relations court when no divorce action is pending.
• How custody orders are entered and later modified.
• How different special issues (like breastfeeding, same-sex relationships, homeschooling, abuse, relocation, and special needs children) can affect custody determinations in certain situations.
• About different alternatives to litigation that can help you avoid having a knock-down, drag-out fight in court.
• How to work with your attorney, guardian ad litems, and custody evaluators on your case.
• What you need to know if you choose to represent yourself.
• What to expect in a custody case.
• Whether your family is traditional or non-traditional, whether you’re going through a divorce or only have custody issues to address, you will find answers in this clear, concise, book written to help you move step-by-step through custody cases in Virginia courts.
It’s totally free, and written for women just like you. Not only that, but after you request to receive your free copy, you’ll also receive an email with an electronic copy of the book. In it, you’ll be able to read the book (obviously), but you can also sign up to participate in our custody e-course, which is full of tips and tricks that our attorneys wanted to make sure you know.
Need a copy of our free custody book? Just click here.
A second step? Whether you’re preparing to represent yourself or want to hire an attorney, Custody Bootcamp for Moms is a great way to get all of the information you need to know how custody cases in Virginia work. Custody Bootcamp for Moms is an intense, all day seminar, taught by Kristen Hofheimer and Caitlin Walters. It covers tons of information about custody cases, and it costs less than one hour with a moderately priced local attorney. For more information or to register online, click here.
Custody Bootcamp for Moms is chock full of specific, important, trial tested tips and techniques that you need to know about, whether you’re working on your own or checking up to be sure that your attorney is doing everything he or she needs to do to protect your kids. At Custody Bootcamp, you’ll learn all about how to
• present your case,
• make opening and closing statements,
• question and cross examine witnesses (and survive being cross examined yourself),
• prepare a trial notebook,
• get your evidence in and keep his evidence out,
• work with judges, guardians ad litem, and custody evaluators, and
• tons more!
It’s the kind of practical, hands on tips you’ll need if you’re getting ready to go to court. Don’t go to court alone—go to Custody Bootcamp first!
For more information about custody cases, to request a copy of our custody book, to register to attend Custody Bootcamp for Moms, or to schedule a confidential appointment with one of our licensed and experienced Virginia divorce and custody attorneys, give our office a call at (757) 425-5200.