When you and your former spouse cannot see eye to eye on custody issues, your case will go to court. Because the stakes are so high, many divorcing couples are intimidated by this legal process. This is especially true if you and your ex’s wishes regarding custody are wildly divergent.

Rest assured that the court always acts in the best interest of the children at the center of the custody dispute. Also, consider that your conduct during the trial can have a definite impact on the outcome of the case. To ensure you are completely prepared for the hearing, Legal Reader offers the following tips.

Understand the better parent standard

The courts prefer joint custody in the majority of cases. Joint custody is considered more beneficial to children, as it allows them to maintain strong, loving relationships with both parents. If you believe you are better equipped to provide quality care to your child, you must show through evidence that you are the better parent. In cases where domestic violence is an issue, the parent fighting for sole custody can provide arrest records or protection orders to the court. If you believe your ex is neglectful to your child, you can present things like emails or text exchanges backing up that assertion.

Conduct yourself appropriately in court

You might resent your ex for issues that occurred during your marriage. This resentment can also lead to outbursts if you believe your ex is behaving in an improper manner during divorce proceedings. While it is natural to experience negative feelings about your ex, you must still treat them civilly during the hearing. Regardless of the situation or how justified you may feel you are, being rude or combative will negatively impact the court’s opinion of you and affect your chances of receiving a favorable custody outcome.

Wear the right clothing

When preparing for your day in court, choose clothing that could also be worn to a job interview. While your appearance is not an indication of your fitness as a parent, the judge will form an impression of you based on how you look.  Anything too casual or revealing may diminish your standing, especially if you lack strong evidence supporting the better parent standard. It may not seem fair, but it is a fact of life that the way you look influences how others think of you.