There’s a lot riding on your child custody hearing. You naturally hope that the judge will see things your way and put an end to all of the conflict you’ve been going through over the last few months (or years).

To put your best foot forward, here’s what you need to do to prepare:

1. Meet with your attorney.

You should schedule a meeting with your attorney to go over any questions you have, information that your attorney wants you to know and what strategy your attorney recommends. Make sure that you have a clear understanding of the laws in your case and any important terms you have heard so that you can follow what’s happening in court.

2. Get your evidence organized.

If you’re asking for full physical custody of your child, you want the judge to essentially say that you are the better parent. A judge isn’t going to do that unless you provide plenty of evidence to back up your reasoning. Make sure you know exactly what documents you need to bring to provide the court.

3. Know how to behave.

You are definitely being sized up and judged in any custody case, so be on your best behavior. Make sure that you come dressed in business clothing and keep your language professional and polite (no matter how you may feel about something that is said). You won’t ever hurt your case by being polished and personable.

A custody battle is seldom in anybody’s best interest if it can be avoided. You can get pushed there, however, through no fault of your own.