Temporary child custody hearings in Wake County are limited to two hours in length.  Each side only has one hour to present his or her case, make opening and closing remarks, and cross-examine the other side’s witnesses.  Two hours is not much time.

In the many years of doing this I have learned that the single biggest challenge in temporary child custody hearings is time management.   Let’s talk about some time management ideas in the context of a temporary child custody hearing in Wake County.

  1. Calendar call.  Go to court before 9a.m. on the scheduled day.  In Wake County, you can find your case on the calendar at this site.  When your case is called your lawyer will stand up and tell the judge that you are ready to try your case.  If you are representing yourself, remember to stand up and speak clearly when addressing the court.  Be prepared for the possibility your case might not get reached by the court.  It’s an unfortunate reality that our court system is overburdened and the judge usually can’t hear all the cases set on a day.
  2. Listen.  After court the judge will set the order cases will be heard for the day.  Listen carefully as to when your case will be reached.
  3. Your case.  Be direct.  In a temporary child custody case the judge in Wake County is looking to put a band-aid on child custody and cut down on controversy.   The important thing to remember is to offer a reasonable solution to the court.  For example, if the issue is an argument over decision-making, present evidence about how you have a track-record of making decision and making good decision for your child or children and that for those reasons you should be granted primary legal custody.  Make sure to be organized and make sure your evidence revolves around facts related to your children’s best interest.   When you testify speak clearly and honestly.  Focus on the most important points because with only an hour you will not be able to tell the court about everything… it is just not possible to tell a judge everything in an hour about your children or you as a parent.

These are some general tips.   Clearly there is more to effectively handling a temporary child custody case, but if you follow the suggestions above you are well on your way.


Scott Allen is a divorce attorney in Raleigh, NC with over nineteen years of experience in all areas of family law litigation and settlement, including child custody.