Preparing for a child custody dispute is easily one of the most stressful family law issues any parent could experience. You love your child more than anything and you fear that you will lose precious time with them. At your court hearing, you will need the strongest case possible to ensure that the judge upholds your parental rights. The documentation that you provide can have make or break your custody case, so you should have every shred of evidence at the ready that you can.
The documents to gather
You can be certain that your former partner will do everything in their power to present themselves in the best light, argue their position and secure the custody arrangement that they want. When it comes to strengthening your case, certain papers or electronic records could be crucial evidence.
The documents you might need include but are not limited to:
- Bank statements: Your bank statements can demonstrate that you are financially stable enough to provide for your kids. They can also show that you purchased educational supplies, athletic equipment, toys and other items related to their care.
- Medical records: Your child’s medical documents will be very important, especially if you plan to make or dispute allegations of abuse.
- Orders of protection: If you and the kids were the victims of domestic violence, harassment or stalking and you received an order of protection, bring this document to court – it is of utmost importance.
- Emails: Gather any emails in which you and your former partner discussed parenting your kids. You could also provide emails in which they insulted your parenting abilities, threatened to take the children or insulted the kids. They can also act as proof that you had communication with your child.
- Text messages: The same goes for text messages. If you deleted your old text messages (or emails, for that matter) you might need to contact your service provider and try to recover them.
- Phone records: Although phone records don’t provide the content of your calls, they can prove that you spoke with your spouse or your kids at a certain time and date. They can also prove that your spouse was harassing you or refused to answer your calls.
Granted, collecting all these documents on your own is not easy, especially when you are also trying to manage your work, personal life and parenting. But when it comes to getting custody of your child, no amount of effort is too great. It is also never a bad thing to ask for help when and if you need it.