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Documentation in Child Custody Cases

How important is documentation in child custody cases? It is extremely important. According to several child custody experts, one of the best means to prepare for and win a child custody trial is to provide solid documentation that can prove one's parental capabilities and fitness. Typically one needs to prove to the court and convince the judge that he/she can provide the child with the best environment suitable for proper growth and development.

During a child custody case, every minute detail such as parenting skills, daily interactions of the parent with the child, participation in school and medical appointments, availability, past conduct, and more, may be carefully scrutinized by the court before a decision is made. Therefore, one would do well to keep a detailed record of past events and maintain accurate documentation that can support the parent's involvement and caring nature and also highlight the deficiencies of the spouse towards the child. For example, documentation that demonstrates questionable behavior or judgment of a spouse, such as domestic violence, abuse, drug usage, negligence towards the child, unavailability, frustrating contact, and/or poor parenting skills would be important.

There are many ways to demonstrate through documentation that one is more fit and/or the better parent. Documentation can include accompanying the child in all school activities such as parent-teacher meetings or school functions, level of involvement in the child's daily activities, helping the child with homework, taking care of the child's regular health checkups, getting the child involved in family and church activities, and going on vacation and spending quality time with the child. The most important prerequisite is to keep a proper record of all activities and have witnesses in mind who can testify to your parenting skills and your level of participation in your child's life. Your goal is to leave no question that your continued involvement is in the best interest of the child.


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Joint or sole custody may be awarded based on the best interests of the child and other factors that include 1) the preference of the child, 2) the desire and ability of each parent to allow an open and loving relationship between the child and the other parent, 3) the child's health, safety and welfare, the nature and contact with both parents and 4) the history of alcohol and drug use. Marital misconduct may be considered.
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