When parents go through a separation or divorce, court proceedings can often be an unavoidable part of the process. If you’re a parent who is dreading what might happen in court, it’s important to remember that there is a lot of information to help you understand the process and what will happen to your children. Hiring family law solicitors who know the family law system can help ease some of your worries.
What Are Court Proceedings?
Court proceedings are legal proceedings that take place in a courtroom. In a family law case, both parents will have the opportunity to present their case to a judge. The judge will then make a decision about what is in the best interests of the children.
What Happens In Court?
During court proceedings, each parent will have the opportunity to tell their side of the story to the judge. The judge will then make a decision about what is in the best interests of the children. Parents may also be required to provide evidence to support their case. This could include financial information, photographs, witness statements, or other documents.
How Will Court Proceedings Affect Your Children?
It’s important to remember that court proceedings are just about parents—they are also about the children. The judge will always do what they believe is in the best interest of your children. This means that you should make sure you provide all the evidence necessary to prove why your parenting plan is in your children’s best interests.
What Does ‘Best Interests of the Children’ Mean?
This term refers to how much time each parent will spend with their children (parenting time), where they will spend that time (residence), and any other significant issues about living arrangements for the child, like where they will go to school and who will be responsible for getting them there. Generally, both parents want what is best for their children, even if it doesn’t look like they agree on everything right now. Court proceedings will help you ensure that this is the case.
What Is Evidence?
Evidence is the information used to prove something in courts, such as financial information, witness statements, photographs, and other documents. Sometimes evidence can also include expert reports from doctors, teachers, or psychologists.
How Do You Present Your Case in Court?
When you appear in court for family law proceedings, it’s important to be professional and prepared. This means having all of your evidence in order and knowing exactly how you plan on presenting your side of the story. Leaving things until the last minute could result in missing an opportunity to present your case properly with all relevant facts at hand. You’ll need to make sure that any experts who provide written reports (like doctors, psychologists, counselors, or educators) appear in court to present their evidence.
What Can the Court Do?
The court has a range of options available during family law proceedings. If you fail to attend court or cooperate with the judge’s orders, one of these options will likely be considered by your family law solicitor.
Failing to Attend Court Proceedings
If you regularly miss scheduled court appearances, this may have an impact on your children and could result in you being held in contempt of court. Suppose the judge decides that you are not cooperating with them or regularly missing scheduled appearances without reasonable excuse. In that case, they may refer your case back to another authority, order mediation between parents, issue fines for contempt of court violations, or terminate your parental rights.
Refusing to Cooperate with Court Orders
If you do not comply with any orders made by the court, such as decisions about parenting time or residence, you may face sanctions. This could include being held in contempt of court, having charges brought against you, or even jail time.
Parenting Time and Residence Orders
The most common order that the court will make is a parenting time and residence order. This order will state how much time each parent will spend with their children and where they will live. If parents are unable to agree on a parenting plan, the judge will create one based on what they believe is in the children’s best interests.
What If You Can’t Go to Court?
If you know that you cannot attend a scheduled court appearance, contact your family law solicitor as soon as possible. You may need to find an appropriate replacement for the proceedings if it is not feasible for you to reschedule.
What If the Other Parent Does Not Cooperate?
If the other parent fails to comply with court orders, you can contact the police, who may take enforcement action. In some cases, a family law solicitor may also be able to take legal action on your behalf to ensure that the other parent complies with the order.
It’s important to remember that court proceedings can be both confusing and scary for parents. However, understanding what will happen and how it will affect your children makes you feel more prepared and confident about what lies ahead. For more information, speak to a family law solicitor today.