Parents who are about to walk into family court often want to know what they can do to build their case. In order to have a great day in custody court, you need to have evidence to show the judge. Here are 10 pieces of evidence that can help you win your case:
1. Emails and texts
Parents are often brutally honest with each other over emails and texts. If your child’s other parent calls you names or denies you access to your child, copies of these messages can be persuasive evidence that they’re not willing to co-parent with you.
2. Teacher testimony
Teachers often provide valuable, neutral insight about how a child functions at school. If they’re behind their peers or they struggle socially, their teacher may be able to explain to the court what’s going on. This might convince the court to make a change or put additional rules in place for the child’s benefit.
3. Criminal convictions
What a parent has done in the past is often a good sign of what the court can expect them to do in the future. A criminal conviction can be evidence of domestic violence, violent behavior or a substance abuse problem. This can convince the court that a parent might need treatment, counseling or extra conditions on their parenting time.
4. Photos of the child
Smiling photos of you and your child can help counter arguments form the other parent that your child doesn’t like you or that they’re afraid of you. Showing the court how your child eagerly spends time with you can help the court understand the relationship that you have with your child.
5. Medical records
A child’s medical records can prove abuse or neglect. They’re also important in a situation where a child has special needs that might need extra child support or that might warrant a unique parenting schedule. Your child’s health care providers may need to testify.
6. Records of your parenting schedule
If your co-parent consistently asks for parenting time and then never shows, the court needs to know about it. If the other parent has only seen the child sporadically in the last few months, the court needs to know about that too. Courts want children to have stability. That means the past comes into play as the court decides the future.
7. Evidence of substance abuse
If your co-parent abuses alcohol or drugs, any evidence of the abuse can help the court make its decision. You might include records of disrupted employment. You might obtain photos of drug paraphernalia. Anything you can do to document the other parent’s substance abuse can help you convince the court that your concerns are valid.
8. Community records
The court wants to know that your child is involved in your community. This might mean presenting records that your child participates in an extracurricular activity. You might have photographs of your child attending community events. These pieces of evidence convince the court that the child is settled and happy with you and the community that they live in.
9. Your testimony
Your own words are a valuable piece of evidence. It’s important to tell the court about your interactions with the other parent. You can give the court your reasons for wanting the custody and parenting schedule that you’re asking for. Your divorce lawyer can ask you the right questions when you’re on the witness stand.
10. A certification from a parenting class
If you have a domestic violence conviction or you just want to show the court that you’ve brushed up on your parenting skills, certification that you’ve completed a parenting class can help your case. This can show the court that you’re eager to be a parent and do your best to work cooperatively with your co-parent. The Elliot S. Birnboim website may be able to provide you with more information.