Skip to main content

What do I need to ask during a custody hearing

Hummelstown, PA |

I am going into a custody hearing unrepresented and I dont know what I should expect, I know this decision is not a wise one but I have no choice at this point being it is very last minute due to not being notified until four days before the hearing. I dont know what to ask tomorrow, what are some good meaningful questions?

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

It sounds like this is either an emergent or an expedited hearing unless service was not perfected in accordance with the court rules for petitions. A continuance most likely won't be granted but you may want to try anyway, especially if you need to obtain counsel. Mention the fact that you only received the papers a few days ago. If you receive a continuance, perhaps a pro bono legal service would represent you if you qualify for their assistance.

Instead of a continuance, a hearing will probably be held and an interim order will probably result. The court will probably schedule another hearing in the future, which could be weeks or months away.

The court will evaluate the best interest of the child in determining custody. At a minimum, you should refer to the factors described in the new custody statute to formulate your questions. Craft them to the specific facts in your case. Focus on getting the most relevant questions asked first, even if you think there are many important things you would like to get into the record if you could. This is not easy to do but since you are short on time and money, you will need to do the best you can.

Good luck,
Chris
PS: Please mark this as a best answer if it is most helpful to you.

The Law Office of Christopher Barrett Fay, 1325 Spruce St., Philadelphia, PA 19107, chris@cfaylaw.com, (267) 519-2719, www.cfaylaw.com. LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The law changes frequently, and the material on this website is for general information purposes only and neither constitutes nor is intended to be legal advice. You should not act based upon this general information nor without seeking legal counsel regarding your specific legal matter. The outcome of every case is dependent on the specific facts and legal circumstances of each individual case. Any client reviews or attorney endorsements posted on this website are solely the opinion of that person and should not be construed as representative of the results you might expect to receive in your specific legal matter. No one can offer a review or endorsement concerning the type or quality of legal work they received in relation to the type or quality of legal work that might be done for you if you become a client of this office. This website is not advertising. This website is not an offer to represent you, which can only be made after a consultation with one of our attorneys. This website and its feature to contact us do not create an attorney-client relationship between you and The Law Office of Christopher Barrett Fay or any of its attorneys. The Law Office of Christopher Barrett Fay practices law only in the states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The Law Office of Christopher Barrett Fay does not intend to practice in any other jurisdictions where it is not licensed. The firm does not seek to represent anyone viewing this website in other jurisdictions, and the website may not comply with the laws and ethical rules of states other than Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Pursuant to the requirements of U.S. Treasury Regulation Circular 230, any tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended to be used, and cannot be used to avoid penalties imposed under the United States Internal Revenue Code or to promote, market or recommend to another person any tax-related matter.

Mark as helpful

4 comments

Christopher Barrett Fay

Christopher Barrett Fay

Posted

How did your hearing go?

Asker

Posted

Thank you so much for the advice, the hearing went very well given the circumstances. The judge did keep us on the order we are on now with the exception on the summer, we then go to a week on week off schedule. I feel I covered everything I needed to and stressed my main issue, being drinking. This father is a full time college student four hours away and graduated next december so we are going back to court in January 2013. I had filed for a continuance the day before e hearing being I had such short notice I could not do it sooner. The hearing was not what I expected by any means however I feel I did an exceptional job being I do not know everything an attorney knows. The judge seemed to think I did a good job being he commended me for doing an astonishing job and being I was one of many he has seen self represented and that I was the best he saw and that I picked up on things very quickly, I did great with my questions and so on. Now that I have nine months until I go back I will be retaining counsel for this hearing. However, I do have a question, the attorney wanted a passport granted for my daughter, she is 4 months old now and when this trip is planned she will be 8 months, the judge said the father and I have to learn to work things out among eachother so he didn't grant the passport but did say he would look down on me if I don't accommodate his request, is there anyway I can fight this? This trip is to Canada for a week, on a house boat the entire time, I do not have a passport and have many concerns including, drinking, being on a boat the whole week, her being 8 months old, if for any reason something would happen to her I have no passport and could not get to her if I needed to. Is there anything I can do about this?

Christopher Barrett Fay

Christopher Barrett Fay

Posted

I'm happy the hearing seemed to go so well for you. Regarding the trip, I think the judge might consider the age of the child and the issue with the boat and water. At the future hearing, make sure you develop your safety concerns, which is really what the court will care about the most. A vacation to Canada isn't necessarily going to be blocked by the court, but the full week on a boat might be treated differently. In your area, I would recommend a consultation with Chris Basner, Esq., who went to law school with me. I believe he has an office in Newport. Sincerely, Chris

Asker

Posted

Thank you so much for the help!!! I will stress my safety concerns to the attorney we were appointed and see what happens!! Again, thank you so much you have been very helpful.

Posted

Please help me understand who you are intending to ask questions. The most important question I have is what is the issue being heard? If you have only received notice 4 days ago, my first question would be whether notice was properly served and whether you were given enough time (as prescribed by the law) to prepare for the hearing. I would also ask whether you can get an extension of time (postpone the hearing) in order to consider hiring an attorney, or at least speaking with a local attorney to prepare for your hearing. If you have limited financial means, you may consider contacting legal aid - but again, you'll need more time. In Texas, courts look at what is in the "best interest of the child" in all issues concerning child custody.

Mark as helpful

1 found this helpful

1 lawyer agrees

1 comment

Asker

Posted

He has 10 witness' I have to question, I have been doing research on a lot of this but I can not figure out what to ask. I have a lot of questions for the father at this point but the rest I am only coming up with three, for example 1. Have you ever physically seen me caring for my daughter while she was in my custody? 2. Have you ever witnessed the father drinking underage? 3. Why do you feel the father should get more time than he has? ^I know the underage thing seems like it isnt important but this family drinks a lot, on one occasion there was a little girl, 6 years old who was at the house while a bunch of drunk men were throwing 3 very drunk, one unconscious kids out of the house. I never want to get a phone call from my daughter saying this is going on there so I feel the judge should hear about this however these people are very manipulative and are going to have their stories straight. I dont want to go into this blind but I dont know what to do at this point.I filed a motion for continuance this morning with the order and the judge declined. I explaing in the motion that I did not get notice that this hearing was coming up and my witness' do not have time to request the day off and I do not have time to prepare. Needless to say, I have been running around like crazy the past few days trying to get all of this in order and prepare for it. I am hoping they look at what is in the best interest of her. He is a full time college student four hours away from here. I am not saying that is a bad thing but he has made this all very difficult even being I tried to work things out with him and make it work before it went to court. Nothing has worked.

Posted

If you just received notice, you may wish to ask for a continuance to obtain counsel. You should be prepared to tell the court what efforts you have made to find a lawyer.

Mark as helpful

1 found this helpful

1 lawyer agrees

1 comment

Asker

Posted

I filed for a continuance, it was not granted sadly.

Child custody topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics