If you’re facing a divorce in Nashville, you’re probably concerned about the upcoming child custody hearing. The process can be intimidating for many parents, especially when considering just what is at stake. If you are unaware just how child custody is determined in the court, VeryWellFamily.com offers some essential advice to help parents properly prepare for their day in court.

It’s important to present yourself well during your hearing, especially during a child custody case. This entails dressing in an appropriate manner as well as conducting yourself properly. Remain polite and civil when conversing with the judge or other participants and remember that any adversarial behavior will reflect poorly on you. If you’re unsure about what to expect, speak with your attorney about running through any possible scenarios.

Child custody laws tend to vary quite a bit from state to state. Accordingly, it’s important you know what the law says in your state to make sure you remain within the guidelines. For instance, some states use different language when referring to joint and legal custody, and it’s crucial that you understand terminology completely. If you have any questions, be sure to ask them before your hearing. You’ll also want to read up on the better standard guidelines in your state (which the court uses to determine which parent will provide a higher level of care).

You’ll also be responsible for brining certain documents to court, which are intended to support your claim that you are best suited to primary custody. For instance, if you were ordered to pay child support you’ll want to bring documents that show you’ve been making payments on a regular basis. You may also want to bring school records, a list of texts and/or calls, or any medical reports listing your child’s health care needs.