Child custody can be one of the most contentious components in many divorces, and it is easy to see why. As a parent, your children make up a significant part of your life. You are used to always being there for your kids, and it can be heart-breaking to consider no longer seeing them every day.
All child custody decisions should be made with your children's best interests in mind, and often that means sharing joint custody with your ex-spouse. However, there are also circumstances when a court may have good reason to award other custody arrangements instead.
Every situation is different, but keeping good records of events that occur during your divorce is often beneficial. Having good records can help jog your memory and provide evidence if custody disagreements end up causing conflict.
What should I record?
Sometimes it can be difficult to predict what information may become relevant to your custody case down the road. To avoid leaving out an important detail, consider using a dedicated journal to document the interactions between you and your child as well as the interactions between your ex and your child. Consider also including details about the conversations you and your ex have about your child.
Details you may consider recording, include:
- The date and duration of each phone call the child receives from each parent
- When, where and how long each parent visits with your child
- Missed or canceled visits with your child
- Late pick-ups or drop-offs
- Your child's medical reports and treatment records
- Your child's report card
- When you and your ex have discussions regarding your child
- What information is relayed during discussions about your child
Calendars can help support recorded details
Using calendars can also be to your advantage. While you can record detailed information in your journal, it can be helpful to also use a calendar to track where your children stayed each night. This can serve as a quick reference in case there is ever any confusion. It can also help you see how well your current custody arrangement is working. If it is not working, it may help you see patterns that can be useful when creating a new schedule.
Keeping a kid-friendly calendar where your child can see it may provide an added benefit your child. Consider using different colored highlighters to indicate when the child is scheduled to be at your house and when the child is scheduled to be at the other parent's house. This can help your child better understand the custody schedule, anticipate when he or she may see the other parent and become more comfortable with the new routine.
However, if you choose to provide a calendar like this for your child, try to avoid putting negative details about the other parent on that calendar. Using two calendars may be a way to avoid this.
Keeping detailed records may seem like a lot of work. However, sometimes good recordkeeping can help you get the best resolution possible to child custody disputes.