First - Do make an attempt to informally resolve the matter with the other side. Agreements reached outside of Court (and subsequently drafted into a Court Order) are more frequently followed by the parties; keep the animosity, attorney's fees and stress levels down; and, the ability to co-parent and/or cooperate high. One agreement can lay the groundwork for resolving the balance of your matter.
Second - Be prepared in a variety of ways. Make sure your documents have been filed and served upon the other side. Make a note of what you have asked the Court to decide and check it off as they make orders about each issue. I have seen folks file a motion requesting several things (i.e.: custody, visitation AND child support), wait months to have their case heard and then in the nervousness of the moment they completely forget one of their issues. Bring a pad of paper and a pen with you to your hearing so you can write down what the Court orders. Bring a copy of all of your court documents with you, and organize them so if you are asked to provide a document you are able to do it efficiently. Bring a few extra copies of any documents you are asking the Court to consider in the event the filed copy did not make it to the court file. Be open and able to discuss different alternatives. Frequently the Court does not make 'all or nothing' decisions. That said, it is always a good idea to have a few options available to achieve a desired result. If you want the children for more time that you currently have, be able to share with the Court what you want and why it makes sense for everyone concerned. If the other parent owes you money, having a few different re-payment plans to offer the Court will show you are cooperative, reasonable and allow the Court some room to move [hopefully in your direction].
Third - Relax! Of course you will probably be nervous but try and get plenty of rest the night before. Be on time, be courteous and respectful of the Court and court staff. Your matter will conclude before you know it.
For more information regarding California Family Law contact Stone Law Group in Fresno at (559) 226-1910.