What will my lawyer ask me at my custody trial?

In New York State, at acustody trial, the best family lawcustody lawyers will prepare their clients for extensive direct examination. Direct examination is the client's opportunity to be heard before the Family Court Judge and is critical to a successful custody case. It is the best time for the client to explain reasons for sole custody and/or amodification of custody. Not properly preparing for trial and the direct examination will be devastating to any custody case.

What will my custody lawyer ask me during my custody trial?

There are about 20 main factual areas that an attorney should ask the client about during a custody trial and they all involve the child's best interests including the child's health, safety, education and welfare. The top 5 areas of direct examination include the following:

Time with the child:

  • Hours of work?
  • Days of work?
  • When the child leaves for school and returns home?
  • When the child goes to bed?


  • Visits to and who are the Doctors?
  • Check-ups?
  • What are any special needs?
  • What are the prescriptions?
  • What happens during an illness?
  • Who stays with the children?
  • Is the other parent notified?


  • What is the name of the child's school?
  • Teacher's names?
  • Visits to School?
  • Conferences with Teachers?
  • Homework?
  • Help with homework?

A Day in the life:

  • Describe a day in the life between you and the child.
  • Describe a typical school day.
  • Describe a typical non-school day.
  • Describe a vacation or special trip.

General activities with child

  • Shopping for clothing, toys and food.
  • Play with the child including sports and after school activities (boy scouts, girl scouts etc.)
  • Enjoying music together.
  • Playing with other children.
  • Interaction with other parents.

These areas must be explored in great detail on direct examination during a trial. Also, it is very important to address issues of interaction between the parents. How do they communicate and what efforts has the client has made to include the other parent in the child's life?

This will present an overall picture to the judge and help the judge to decide why it is in the child's best interest for the client to be awarded sole custody of the child.

The other custody trial preparation work involves preparing the client for cross examination. An experienced custody lawyer will have no problem anticipating the cross examination questions and how the client should answer those questions. Most cross examination questions are case fact specific.

If you or someone you loved is seeking custody of a child or is trying to prevent a parent from obtaining custody of a child it is very important to hire a top family law child custody lawyer.

We have over 50 years of combined experience and we have proven case results.

Call us today for a consultation (914) 946-4808.