Using an Evidentiary Hearing to Your Advantage
A child custody case can weigh heavily on your shoulders as you work to maintain your relationship with your child, whether it is through a custody plan or visitation. Most parents simply want to continue being a part of their children’s lives after a divorce, but if the other parent is combative or dismissive of their interests, it can lead to a high-conflict custody battle. If you attempt to file a motion to gain custody or modify your agreement, then the other parent will likely request an evidentiary hearing. An evidentiary hearing may sound intimidating, but out attorneys at Huguenor Mattis, A.P.C. can explain what you need to know about them and how to prepare for one.
What Is an Evidentiary Hearing?
Under Family Code §217 Rule 5.113, either side in a custody dispute can request an evidentiary hearing to resolve an element of a case. An evidentiary hearing is a formal hearing where either side in a custody case can present live testimony and evidence before a judge. Most child custody cases involve an evidentiary hearing, and a judge can only refuse a request for a hearing if they have good cause. Even if a request is refused, a court may accept written testimony or live recordings.
While a hearing may be requested by one side in a dispute, they benefit both parents by allowing them a chance to present evidence and witness testimonies, which may influence the outcome of their case.
How Evidentiary Hearings Influence Custody?
During a high-conflict custody dispute, it may seem difficult to present your side of a case and explain why you deserve joint or sole custody from a California family law court. Evidentiary hearings give you the opportunity to lay out the facts of your case and bring forth important testimony or evidence. Prior to Rule 5.113, family law courts did not have to hear live testimony on child custody disputes, leading to unfair outcomes for many parents. Now, you have the chance to present a thorough case as to why you should be awarded custody or receive visitation and can back up your case with relevant evidence.
An evidentiary hearing can allow you to present testimony from:
- Other family members showing your involvement in your child’s life
- Your child’s teacher(s) who are aware of your involvement in your child’s education
- Medical providers who demonstrate that you are attentive to your child’s health
- Therapists, psychiatrists, and psychologists about your mental health
- Childcare providers
Witness testimony can be questioned by the court, and either side can cross-examine a testimony with their own questions.
Preparing for a Hearing
Before going into an evidentiary hearing, it is important to speak to an experienced family law attorney. Your attorney can request an evidentiary hearing on behalf of you and help you prepare for one. Your attorney may advise you on what testimony will be relevant to your case, what evidence you may need to collect, and what strategy you will take during the hearing. You should work with an attorney who has experience presenting evidence in evidentiary hearings and is comfortable conducting a case professionally in a high-conflict case.
Representing San Diego Parents in High-Conflict Custody Cases
Our San Diego child custody attorneys at Huguenor Mattis, A.P.C. have served clients in complex child custody cases since 1975. We have a proven track record of success in these types of cases and can help you prepare for an evidentiary hearing. Thomas M. Huguenor is a Certified Specialist in Family Law since 1981. There is no one better to advise you during a child custody case.
Call us today at (858) 458-9500 to talk about your child custody case in a free, confidential consultation.