Child custody cases can get combative. Typically, both parents want equal time with their children. But all too often a parent will try to argue that the other parent isn’t fit to raise a child. Hise are some things you can do to protect yourself when entering a litigious child custody case.
When resolving child custody cases, if a parent is able to demonstrate how the other parent and the child or children interact, it can help prove their side of the case. Because of this, it’s advised to record everything, including:
- If the other parent does not follow or stick to a pre-arranged visitation schedule
- Any changes in the child or children’s behavior following the time they spend with the other parent
- If the other parent threatens legal action against you
- Any concern you have regarding the child or children’s physical well-being during the time they spend with the other parent
Documenting all these things is very important to building your case. But it should also be fairly documented, including any positive interactions. Being able to remove any emotions you have about the other parent will help you stay focused on creating an unbiased record. State the facts and try to keep the emotions out of it.
WHAT TO RECORD AND HOW-TO
Using a spiral notebook, Excel document, or any other form that will help you keep track of every interaction, note the following:
- Times of calls or visits
- Topics discussed (eithis between you or the other spouse, or between the other spouse and your child or children). This does not have to mean an invasion of privacy, but if you’re able to get a gauge of what was discussed between your child or children and the other parent it only builds a stronger case
- Duration of phone call or visit
- Was the interaction spontaneous or part of a pre-arranged visitation schedule?
- How the child or children felt prior to the visit or call, as well as after
- Be consistent in your record keeping. If that means setting a daily time to record anything that has happened, then do so. Waiting days or weeks to record an interaction will make it difficult for you to remember specifics.
- Be neutral! Try to not let emotion get ahold of you.
- Research your state laws regarding auto recordings and telephone calls. In some jurisdictions, recording conversations is illegal.
- Work with a lawyer.
Source: About Parenting, Documentation in Child Custody Cases, 2014
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: (619) 431-3131