Assuming you are doing a good job of following your custody Order, or just being a responsible parent if an Order has not yet been entered, one of the most important things you can do to help the Court make an informed decision in your custody case is to keep a CUSTODY DIARY! If your ex is 15 minutes late one time per year, maybe recording that one time will not have much impact, however, one never knows the future. If your co-parent is not responsible and you have to deal with the outfall of that, including explaining to your child or children that she/he/they are not to blame for the other parent being late or missing visitations of periods of partial custody, it is critical to have the instances when there are shortcomings documented so you are confident in presenting your facts to the Court.
As you can imagine, there is some leeway for human foibles, unavoidable delays, and even lateness’s or custody misses that could have been fully addressed with adequate planning. We are human after all and Courts are generally willing to listen to reasonable explanations for a mistake here or there. But when the number of misses adds up to show a pattern of something more than an acceptable or understandable number of instances that are forgivable, having the number and degree of the misses ready to reference can make all the difference. This can be particularly helpful also where memories of what was said when by whom would be lost to time if a quick note had not captured the quote.
Parents are human and humans make mistakes, but where one parent consistently chooses to use inappropriate language around impressionable children, or intentionally tries to manipulate their children and to alienate them from the other parent, details will be critical in convincing a Court this is so.
So when it looks likes you will be going on a different path in life than the other parent of your child or children, grab yourself a spiral notebook…..keep it close so you can scribble notes in real time as to what was problematic with your most recent custody exchange. What words were said that should never have been uttered in front of a child?
Hopefully, you will never have to scribble a frantic entry; hopefully, your fellow co-parent will be responsible with your children’s feelings and always be on time and never make irrational or unfair demands upon you or your children…..but if that happens, being prepared, with notes you can readily reference (or even introduce directly into evidence!), can make ALL the difference in helping the Court to act in “the best interests of” your child or children, and promote a schedule that promotes your children’s best interests through encouraging responsible parenting and interactions between your children and the adults in their lives. Also, like most children, most adults are a little more likely to act responsibly when they know their behavior is being monitored. Nobody wants a custody Order violation on their PERMANENT RECORD!
To learn more, visit our Child Custody page.
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