When custody of your child is in dispute and it is necessary for a judge to make the final decision, it is critical that you have evidence to support your position. Evidence comes in many forms such as your testimony, witnesses supporting your position, and the focus of this post, documentation.
Whether in the context of your divorce or petition to modify child custody, it is vital to maintain a record of issues regarding your child. Many months may pass between the time it is apparent there will be a custody dispute and the time you are actually in court. Thus, keeping good records will significantly aid in your recollection when it comes time to testify. In addition, your records and summaries may be admissible in court. For instance, if the other parent claims they have provided care for the child 50% of the time and you can produce a calendar indicating that is not true, you can add credibility to your position.
With that in mind, it is recommended that you take the following steps which may help you prepare in the event of future litigation:
- Maintain a parenting time journal or calendar recording all parenting time, including overnights, and noting any issues and problems as well as all deviations from the parenting time schedule, noting which party sought the deviation and the reason for such;
- Maintain detailed records of costs and expenditures for the child, including amounts paid/reimbursed by you or the other parent; and
- Keep e-mails and other written communications with your former spouse as well as notes of pertinent verbal communications, including dates and times.
You should keep these records in family law disputes such as this even when there are no issues regarding custody, as it is impossible to predict when a dispute may arise. As mentioned, such records may prove quite useful in the event of a disagreement regarding custody or a request for modification. Please feel free to call Roberts Means, LLC today at (317) 353-3600 or contact us via email if you have any questions concerning custody of your child.