Making Yourself Knowledgeable About Child Custody

When stuck with resolving child custody cases, it can be helpful if a parent is able to demonstrate and show a record of the interactions between the other parent, the children, and themselves.

When to Begin Documentation

Here are some times you will want to document if you know you are going to be involved in a child custody case:

  • The other parent is inconsistent in following the pre-arranged visitation schedule
  • You notice a negative pattern in the children’s behavior or emotions after the child has spent time with the other parent
  • If the other parent is threatening to take legal action against you
  • If you are concerned about the child’s physical well-being when they are in the care of the other parent

How to Record Documentation

You will want to create a lasting record of each interaction. A spiral notebook or dated appointment calendar can be helpful to help you keep track and record the following:

  1. Dates
  2. Times
  3. Topics discussed
  4. Duration of phone call or visit
  5. If the interaction was spontaneous or part of your pre-arranged visitation schedule

Additional Guidelines for Recording Documentation

  • Keep consistent and daily records. Try not to wait until several days or weeks have passed. This will make it more difficult for you to remember the specificities of the interaction, such as date, time, etc.
  • Keep your tone neutral. State the indisputable facts without sounding negative or accusatory.
  • Know your state laws regarding auto recordings and telephone calls. Some jurisdictions do not allow you to record conversations. The recording of these conversations can actually do more harm than good if they are not allowed by law.
  • Discuss your plans with your lawyer, if you have one. Your legal advisor may have specific additional instructions regarding how this documentation should be handled.
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