Preparing for a child custody case

If this is your first experience in the Stark County court system, it may be helpful to understand what typically happens in a child custody case. It is important to know the etiquette, expectations and processes so you can advocate for your parental rights.

How to prepare

The following recommendations can help set you up for success during your child custody case:

  • Contact a lawyer to plan for the types of questions you could be asked throughout the proceedings. You should be prepared to discuss where the child will live, how they will get to school and what emotional support systems will be available.
  • Complete all necessary documentation and collect any other relevant records required by the court. These could include phone logs, visitation schedules, proof of child support payments and more.
  • Bring in trusted adults, such as teachers, caseworkers or babysitters who can offer positive testimonies about your qualifications as an effective caregiver.
  • Wear modest, professional clothing, maintain a clean, conservative hairstyle, and keep makeup and accessories to a minimum.
  • Practice courtroom etiquette with your lawyer to make sure you understand the proper behaviors and expectations of the court.


The setting

For domestic family matters, such as child custody claims, cases are often heard in a small room at Stark County Family Court with very few people present. Your case will be presented in front of a judge – not a jury – and he or she will make the final decision. Custody cases are typically less complicated than criminal court cases and are often decided much more quickly.

The decision

The final ruling will come after both parties have presented their side and will be made with the child’s best interests in mind. In the decision, a custodial parent will be named and a visitation schedule will be set for the non-custodial parent. Contact Stark County Family Court to learn more.