Documentation Tips During Custody Cases

Nothing can be more frustrating during a custody procedure than having to remember a key conversation or an incident involving your child. To make matters worse, your imprecise recollections or faulty memories can result in you feeling like you’re on trial, as other divorce lawyers or the judge begin picking apart your statements.

All of this can be avoided through extensive documentation. If you’re about to go through a custody hearing (or you are thinking one might be necessary), it’s very important that you begin documenting what is happening with you and your child daily. At Family Matters Law Group, we know how important this is, so we are offering some helpful tips as you begin documenting your case.

Remember: your goal in documenting events is to create a solid, written record of the main events that have occurred between you, your child, and the other parent. Your lawyer wants to have a stable, permanent record of key events.

When To Document

There are four key times when you need need to keep a written record of what has happened. They are:

  • If your child begins to act out behaviorally or has negative emotional episodes after visits with the other parent.
  • If you are concerned with the physical well-being of your child while they are with the other parent.
  • If the other parent is not following through with agreed-upon responsibilities (i.e. a parent is late paying for back-to-school clothes despite assurances that they would, parent is late picking child up from school or other scheduled visits, or the parent does not show up at all).
  • If the other parent is threatening some kind of legal action against you.

Make sure that you are documenting the events of the day on the day they occur. You don’t want to be sitting down trying to remember a key event two weeks after it’s already happened. Opposing attorneys will question your documentation and wonder why you waited. Besides, memories can change over time, and you need to remember specifics.

What to Document

Now is the time you need to think like a lawyer. It’s not enough to just write down a quick one sentence statement (“Parent A did not pick the kids up today”). Details matter and they will be very helpful later.

First, make sure you note the day and time that the incident occurred. Note whether the event was preplanned (like a visitation) or was unexpected. Also, don’t forget to list all the people involved.

Then, record as much detail as possible about what went on. What were the topics discussed during the conversation?  How specifically could you tell that something was wrong with your child? Has this happened before in the past? Is there a pattern that you are seeing?

A Few Other Tips

Documentation doesn’t have to be like doing homework. Just keep a computer file or a spiral notebook handy and make a commitment each day to document if you have to.

Family Matters Law Group recommends that you record conversations that you have with the other parent. The use of  audio or video recording are allowed in the State of Georgia without the other person’s consent, so long as you are also a party to the conversation or interaction. Text messages are also helpful during litigation.

The best advice when it comes to documentation is to discuss your case with an experienced attorney. Family Matters Law Group has the trial experience you need and the knowledge of what documentation is best for your case. We serve a wide region near metro Atlanta, in Clayton, Henry, Fayette, and Fulton Counties. Contact us today using our convenient online form so we can begin to help you.