Before embarking on a lawsuit to obtain custody of a child, one must make certain that they have the emotional fortitude to see the case through and sufficient finances to obtain top flight counsel that have extensive experience in this field. Preparing a case for trial will entail thorough preparation, which will require you to spend literally days in your lawyer's office preparing testimony, reviewing relevant documentation, and getting you prepared for cross examination.
Apart from your own preparation, your lawyer may have to interview many potential witnesses that might include psychiatrists, school teachers, pediatricians, and other professionals who may have had an impact on the child's life. There is no substitute for preparation. Many lawyers feel that preparation consumes 90% of the time in working on a contested custody dispute, and only 10% in the presentation. The way you present yourself in the courtroom, and your ability to remove emotions from such testimony, will certainly receive careful consideration from the court. Conversely, not answering questions in a clear and cogent manner, or volunteering answers not asked of you, would be a negative factor.
Being forewarned is to be forearmed!!!!