After a person files a petition for custody in the J&DR Court, the petition will be heard within a few weeks. Watch for court papers with the hearing date and time to be delivered to the addresses provided on the petition.
Know: At the first hearing, most often a judge will not allow evidence to be presented, but simply enter a temporary order. However, have evidence ready in case the judge decides to issue a permanent order at this hearing.
Know: The judge also will enter an order requiring a parenting class, with information about how to enroll. The judge may appoint a special attorney, called a Guardian ad Litem (GAL), to make recommendations to the court about what is in the child’s best interests. The judge may also order a "Home Study" of one or both homes.
Know: The GAL and/or person doing a home study will interview parents, the child, teachers, counselors, and others. This information will greatly influence the judge’s decisions regarding custody and visitation.