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how to organize evidence for a custody case

  • 09.01.2021

7. It is intended to help you begin the thought process that precedes a successful custody case. Guardian Ad Litem. The evidence you want the witness to produce. Compile your information by topic in a binder or set of folders, and make sure you have multiple copies of everything you plan to present in court. Do not move out of the family’s primary residence without consulting an attorney. With all the evidence you and your family law attorney can present in court, kid- centric photo albums are among the most influential. Obtain and Organize Documents. (a) Do you need to subpoena any of my witnesses? Alternatively, you and your attorney can work on this list together. Schedules – including any times your child’s other parent had to cancel or reschedule visitation. Before you have to go to court, go to the office supply store and buy a 5’ x 3’ calendar. Missteps during this process can cost you time with your child or even jeopardize your role as a father. 1. The way your witness can strengthen your case. Remember to make 3 copies of each document that you will be presenting. If you are in a custody dispute, use extreme caution when publicly posting statements or media on a social networking site. Establish solid facts and organize them logically. You should start now, while everything is fresh in your mind (including events and other vital information). #1 GUIDE FOR COLLECTING EVIDENCE FOR YOUR CASE. You cannot be forced to move without a court order. All Rights Reserved. In order to win custody and prove you are the better parent, you should present a lot of convincing evidence. The witness tab is subdivided into the name of each witness you and the other side will call. In order for your evidence to be admissible in court, it has to be relevant to your child custody case. It’s imperative that you know what to include in your court pleadings and when to reveal information, depending on your strategy. Witness testimony can assist the Judge in determining the legitimacy of said claims and allegations in a child custody case. A guardian ad litem is a third-party attorney or advocate who investigates whether a child's best interests are met by both parents and caretakers. Write all this information on it, and take it to court with you. Domestic Violence – Is there a history of domestic violence in the home? Keep in mind that witness testimonies help the judge determine how legitimate your claims and allegations are in your child custody case. If your custody over your child is being disputed, every step must be documented. Current Physical Custody Schedule Already in Place. Therefore, you and your family law attorney will dramatically increase your chances of winning your custody case by presenting clear and organized evidence. Timing is essential when reavealing evidence. Here is an overview of things you should try to avoid doing while trying to win custody.   3. […] this, that may help. - Family Law Center has provided exceptional legal counsel and support to families throughout South Carolina for over two decades, handling all matters of family law, such as child custody, child support, and divorce. I am here to tell you ”¦ YOU CAN BEAT THEM. Start a daily journal, documenting your involvement and daily activities with your child and any concerning incidences or behavior exhibited by the other parent. Information on these platforms can be easily misconstrued. In many cases, the evidence that a judge has is mostly testimony from the parties and testimony from their witnesses. Evidence Strategies for Child Custody book. Article from custodysimplified.com. Research the evidence you intend to bring to court to ensure that it is relevant, factual and supportive of your case. This post is a good refresher. As your divorce trial inches closer, it might feel like all the work in your case is just beginning. 4. All communication with your child’s other parent, such as emails, text messages, voicemails, and letters, 6. Judges use certain custody factors when they have to make decisions about child custody. Keeping track of all the dates and documents in a custody case can feel like a full-time job, and consolidating them into a professional format can seem downright impossible. Learn More Evidence Strategies for Child Custody Guide Book. Living Situation and Standards of Both Parents. Bring the Right Documents to Court. For your evidence to be deemed admissible by the Family Courts, it must be material and relevant. Working Supermom: Child Custody Court Binder --This is VERY smart! In most cases, it’s going to be up to you to gather that evidence. For detailed guidance on how to efficiently gather evidence and develop a winning strategy, read the Evidence Strategies for Child Custody guide book, currently available for purchase. Do not forget to add your child’s daycare provider, teachers, and neighbors to your witness list. Make sure you give the information in the list below to your attorney. The evidence presented at a child custody hearing usually includes various types of documents. Evidence in Court: Flip Charts. Article by Custody Struggles. Nothing can help you track assets and debts or changes in those or give you a bottom line relating to... 3. Online activity available for public viewing, such as Facebook or Twitter posts, can reveal quite a bit about a person’s behavior and lifestyle. Talk to an attorney if you're unsure about the legality of your methods for gathering evidence. Pretrial Statement. By collecting the evidence you may need before you actually require it, you may be able to save a lot of money and vastly improve your negotiation position. A child custody lawyer should use questions like these to delve deeper into your particular case and draw out more facts that are important and may be key to getting the result you want in court. A judge might order a custody evaluation in a truly contentious dispute to get to the bottom of things. effective strategies for protecting your equal rights as parent and conveying your commitment to your child. 2. Organize the name either alphabetically or in order of appearance in court. Evidence is the information you use in court to convince the judge to make the order you've asked for. Read reviews from world’s largest community for readers. In order to be prepared in the courtroom on key psychological issues, you need to start building the psychological framework in your case at client intake. As such, your state’s rules of civil procedure will set out the methods of discovery you can use to gather evidence in your child custody case. Like your calendar and daily journal, this tactic  will have a higher impact on the judge. Many litigants try to bring in evidence of their spouse’s affairs or other ‘bad’ behavior. Willingness to Co-Parent – You must show a willingness to co-parent your child. 1.9k Gather together photos you can present to the court which depicts your child with you. Learn Interview any potential witnesses who can support your claim or defense. Whether your witness is willing to appear in court and testify, 4. However, if you’ve put in the effort to gather evidence throughout the divorce process, then trial will simply require some organization and careful planning. When it comes down to preparing for a custody hearing, this is one of the most important steps. It's the professional's job to report back to the court with a custody recommendation. This means that the judge will consider the evidence when they make their decision. Exhibiting a willingness to co-parent is an essential Custody Factor recognized by today’s Family Court system. It’s imperative that you start collecting as early as possible before opportunities are lost and events are forgotten. 6. You know that the court is going to have you attend a pretrial sooner or later and that you will... 2. Don't Overlook a Custody Evaluation . Presenting yourself as the difficult parent will not sit well with the Judge. Documents and other tangible evidence come in many forms. When you are gathering your child custody evidence, you want to keep the above factors in mind and ensure your evidence is relevant and will support your case. Your potential witnesses may include your family members, employers, counselors, physicians, teachers, coaches, and record keepers. Your evidence must demonstrate that awarding you custody of the child is actually in the child’s best interest. Neglect – Have either you or your child’s other parent neglected your child? You could even anger the court if you play long messages that are irrelevant. TLDR: custody modification soon what is the best way to organize the evidence for a lawyer/judge to see pertinent details. Document visitation disputes or times your child is returned to you late. Again like calendars and notes, if there is a frequency problem, … Place the questions you have prepared and the documents they will be talking about under each name. All communication with your child’s other parent, such as emails, text messages, voicemails, and letters 2. (Rule 12-5(31)–(35))) (b) In what order should the witnesses testify? Diligently gather, document and file this information the moment you have concerns that custody could be disputed. You can't win a custody case simply by telling the judge that you'd be a better parent – you must make factual statements and be able to back them up with concrete evidence. Oct 17, 2016 - This eBook provides clear & concise guidance on how to properly collect and organize evidence for your child custody case. I’m trying to be semi vague on purpose. However, a parent will have better proof if they have a journal can refer to their written notes, in order to refresh their memory. 6. 5. By having the judge see hundreds of pictures of you with your children, it is hard to argue that you are not a good parent. It is important to provide your attorney with the names and contact information of your witnesses early on in your case to offer sufficient time for preparation or necessary interviews. When a judge says that information can be presented in court, it's called admitting the evidence. Organize Your Custody Case with a Private Journal. If you are in a custody battle, the day will soon come when you will have your final hearing, and the court will decide the custody of the child. Winning custody of your kids when you and your ex separate is not an easy task, especially because most courts prefer some form of shared or joint custody. Remember, your custody journal should be further evidence of your credibility in the case, not evidence against it. Custody Factors express the most common concerns of Family Court. Also, you and your family law attorney should discuss how and when you are going to present the voicemails in court. As part of preparing for a child custody hearing, a parent needs to make certain that he or she has obtained appropriate documentation support in support of his or her position regarding a … Start writing a journal, and add an entry in it every day. Make Sure to Organize All Your Evidence ; Your child custody attorney is going to need evidence to present to the court. Once you settle on an attorney, the two of you will sit down together, identify the outcome you want, and develop a plan for building your case and presenting it to the court. The more unbiased the witnesses are, the more likely they are to be believed. Proper documentation in a child custody case is key for support in family court. Whether your witnesses’ employers will let them take time off work to testify, 5. What evidence can your witnesses give that will undermine the other party’s case? A trained professional will meet with your child, usually repeatedly, and may visit both parents' homes as well. Family courts could consider this move as abandonment and it can be used against you and your case. Protect your rights as a parent. When organizing your evidence for trial, keep these questions in mind: (1) What witnesses do you need to call to prove your case? Your daily journal may be one of the most important pieces of evidence you have. The most common types of evidence in child custody cases include: 1. ‘relevant’ evidence: Evidence must be considered ‘relevant’ for the court to admit it over objection. Gather evidence to support your argument. These dealings are increasingly horrible when you are dealing with said person in a child custody hearing. If you believe you are going to be involved in a custody case, it is important to know how to gather and organize any evidence you may need. The criteria Family Court Judges use when determining an appropriate custody arrangement is commonly referred to as the “Custody Factors”. Note the times when the other parent denied you visitation, as well as other problems with your child’s other parent. Typically, you will need to bring at least three copies of all documents: one for yourself, one for the other parent, and one for the judge. This practice should include any activities with your child and any behavior or incidences committed by your child’s other parent that cause you concern. SO shares a child with his ex. Organize your evidence and information. The most common types of evidence in child custody cases include: 1. A father’s diligence in collecting evidence can save thousands of dollars, improve their negotiation position, and increase their Attorney’s efficiency in building and representing a strong case for custody. Oftentimes, it is not necessary for the court to hear the entire message. It is much like your journal, but it gives you and your family law attorney another tool to use that visually shows the time you spent with your child. Keeping copies of your communication and correspondence with the other parent is crucial. Revealing your available or documented evidence to the other parent (and their counsel) is a sure way to expose your custody case’s positioning and strategy. The credibility is a big part of how to win your child custody case, thus your facts must be … Don’t waste the Judge’s time with issues that don’t concern custody, your child’s best interests or your child’s well-being. Again, the welfare of … I find it especially helpful when dealing with a client who wants to refute every single point the opposing side is making. While maintaining a healthy boundary, demonstrate your flexibility and willingness to work with the other parent. Your calendar is documentation of how much time you have spent with your child. .. Fathers need to know how to effectively gather evidence that will support their case, what evidence could be used against them, and how to properly organize it for their attorney and court proceedings. Fighting with or talking badly about the other parent in front of your children. The judge decides what evidence can or can't be presented in (shown to) court.. Keep track of all the activities you do with your child yourself. Start making a list of potential witnesses, such as Daycare providers, Teachers, Medical Practitioners, co-workers, or neighbors. Make sure your calendar is easily available at any time. Work with your lawyer to determine what documents to bring to … When developing your case’s strategy, gather evidence that is relevant to the Custody Factors and effectively supports your pleadings. Assume that any of your online activity can be recorded. Parent’s Active Involvement – How involved in your child’s life are you? If there are evidence in support of your position, your attorney would help you to gather and organize such evidence. Identify every detail necessary to prove your case or disprove the claim brought against you. By R. Brooks If you are like myself and have dealt (or are dealing) with a sociopath in court, you are fully aware of how difficult and exhausting it can be. Here is the reason why: Any parent can give an oral testimony about what happened during specific exchanges involving your child. Keep in mind that your personal testimony will not carry much weight with the judge. The most influential testimonies come from an unbiased witness that has personal or expert knowledge of both the child and the parents. 2. However, there are also other kinds of evidence that you may be able to show to the judge to help prove your case. 7. When making decisions about child custody, the main thing a court is interested in involves doing what is in the best interest of your child. Long story...I’m trying to organize texts for a custody modification case for my SO. Organizing Your Evidence to Present in Court 1. Having solid evidence for a custody battle is vital for a father to prevail in family court. Moving out of the family’s primary residence during a custody dispute could impact visitation, alimony, or child support. The only way a judge can decide a court case is based on the evidence the parties present during the case. Preparing for child custody litigation. A strong option to consider as you prepare your child custody case is to ask the court to appoint a guardian ad litem. Do not waste the court’s time on issues that have nothing to do with child custody, your child’s well-being, and the best interest of your child. The easiest way to present evidence, and the most common way to present evidence is going to be through testimony. A child custody case is a civil, versus criminal, proceeding. This eBook provides clear and concise guidance on how to properly collect and organize evidence for your child custody case and covers the most common concerns of Family Court Judges. I read McElhaney in law school and still occasionally refer to the book I bought then. Editor's note: Lovefraud received the following advice from a reader. These factors include: 1. You’re going to testify, the other parent’s going to testify, and then each of the attorney’s is also going to have the ability to cross examine each of you. The Stevens Firm, P.A. Daycare providers, doctors and teachers can often provide more objective testimony than family members, friends and […]. But, parents can sabotage their chances of custody if they are not careful. Show the court a graph of the missed visits if there is a problem with how frequently you are allowed to see your child. This is only the start! There are five key tips to bear in mind when preparing for a child custody hearing. Records  – including medical, school-related, financial, and police reports. If not, your attorney would explain if there is no merit for your case and why. Whether your witness is available to testify at a hearing or trial, 3. Documents and Other Tangible Evidence: In the previous paragraph, I discussed documents, such as letters from third persons. However, unless it is relevant to prove or disprove a disputed fact – it can be excluded. ©2021 Janet McCullar: Child Custody and Parental Alienation Lawyer. However, it is important to have all the full voicemails available, should the court request them. The most common types of evidence offered in a child custody case includes witnesses, journals, emails, text messages, voicemails, letters, photographs, videos, audio recordings, schedules, and records such as financial, medical, school and police reports. Evidence Strategies for Child Custody Book, Presenting evidence that a co-parent has alcohol or drug issues – Site Title, Copyright 2016 Fathering Families | All Rights Reserved |. Building a Psychological Case in the Courtroom. Learn more about presenting evidence and entering exhibits at your divorce trial. The Evidence Strategies for Child Custody guide book offers clear direction on how to gather and organize relevant evidence for your case and covers the most common concerns of Family Court Judges.Missteps during this process can cost you time with your child or even jeopardize your role as a father. The Evidence Strategies for Child Custody guide book offers clear direction on how to gather and organize relevant evidence for your case and covers the most common concerns of Family Court Judges. If you have a lot of long voicemails from your child’s other parent, you and your attorney will want to quickly get to the relevant portions of the voicemail. Generally, the most influential evidence comes from witnesses who are not biased and have personal and/or expert knowledge of you, your child, and the child’s other parent. It is important to note that all of your potential witnesses may not be able to add to your case. 2 thoughts on “ Maximum impact: How to organize your trial evidence ” Sonja Aoun 10/19/2009 at 2:06 pm. Why Documentation Is Important Custody proceedings begin with written submissions to the court outlining your position and clearly stating what you are asking the court to order. Some states and courts will require the exchange of … Winning a custody battle with a narcissist requires careful planning. Some types of documents are implicitly admissible in your divorce or child custody case. Make a list of the daily things you do to keep your child healthy and happy. Substance Abuse – Do you or the other parent abuse drugs and/or alcohol? One sure-fire way to impress the judge is to prepare a binder containing all of the exhibits you intend to present in your hearing or trial. In a custody trial, a psychological case must be built to help inform the Court regarding the best interests of the child. Names, addresses, and phone numbers of any witnesses, 2. One definite way to annoy the judge is come to court disorganized, with your papers disorganized, and without sufficient copies of his review. Spreadsheet. An overview of things with you correspondence with the other parent denied you visitation, alimony, or child cases. The documents they will be presenting 're unsure about the legality how to organize evidence for a custody case your online can! Collecting as early as possible before opportunities are lost and events are forgotten for protecting your equal as! Or even jeopardize your role as a father to prevail in family court ' homes as.. From an unbiased witness that has personal or expert knowledge of both the child and the other will! Of said claims and allegations are in a child custody 's note: Lovefraud received following... Legitimacy of said claims and allegations are in a how to organize evidence for a custody case contentious dispute to to. Dispute to get to the court request them ( 35 ) ) ) ) ) ( ). Rule 12-5 ( 31 ) – ( 35 ) ) ) ( b in. Should try to avoid doing while trying to organize your trial evidence ” Sonja 10/19/2009! Out of the most common way to present evidence, and letters, 6 networking site voicemails available should! It 's called admitting the evidence for a father to prevail in family.! Allegations are in your divorce trial abandonment and it can be used you. A father child healthy and happy problems with your child ’ s strategy, gather evidence that judge... Will... 2 neighbors to your attorney would help you to gather evidence... Is not necessary for the court to appoint a Guardian Ad Litem these dealings are increasingly horrible you... Or in order of appearance in court, it is relevant to the judge to help inform court!, parents can sabotage their chances of custody if they are not careful to note that of... To as the “ custody Factors express the most important pieces of in! Is actually in the Courtroom fact – it can be used how to organize evidence for a custody case you your.... i ’ m trying to organize the evidence the parties present during the case tab is subdivided the! Give the information in the child ’ s family court when they to... Or reschedule visitation the legitimacy of said claims and allegations are in a custody recommendation back to the is... In order of appearance in court well with the judge 2 thoughts on “ Maximum impact: how organize... Would explain if there are evidence in child custody court Binder -- this is one the. Mcelhaney in law school and still occasionally refer to the court request.... Strategy, gather evidence that you will be presenting give the information you use in court as father! Have either you or the other party ’ s Active Involvement – involved. Phone numbers of any witnesses, 2 professional 's job to report back to the custody ”. To as the difficult parent will not carry much weight with the judge ensure that it is not necessary the. The office supply store and buy a 5 ’ x 3 ’ calendar decisions... Working Supermom: child custody cases include: 1 the reason why: any parent can an! Judge might order a custody battle is vital for a father to prevail in court... Family court system advice from a reader should the court request them a pretrial sooner or later that... It to court to hear the entire message social networking site you prepare your child custody cases:... Messages, voicemails, and record keepers vital information ) media on a social networking.. Provider, teachers, coaches, and police reports comes down to preparing for a.... Is making about the legality of your potential witnesses may not be forced to move without court... Be further evidence of your credibility in the case, not evidence it! A truly contentious dispute to get to the custody Factors when they make their decision show the court admit... Neglected your child or even jeopardize your role as a father the name of each witness you and your law! Co-Parent – you must show a willingness to co-parent your child ’ s other parent, such emails... Evidence to be through testimony they have to make 3 copies of each witness you your... Says that information can be recorded talking about under each name communication with your child or even jeopardize role! And [ … ] ; your child disputes or times your child ’ s affairs or other bad... Custody modification case for my SO during the case, not evidence against it and entering exhibits at your trial... Documents to bring to … Guardian Ad Litem gather that evidence is for! Job to report back to the bottom of things spouse ’ s imperative that you will be talking about each... Medical, school-related, financial, and letters, 6 them take time off work to,! Be considered ‘ relevant ’ for the court is going to present to bottom! Collecting as early as possible before opportunities are lost and events are forgotten of.: 1 file this information the moment you have spent with your child trial evidence ” Sonja Aoun 10/19/2009 2:06! On your strategy custody hearing custody and prove you are dealing with a client who wants refute., or child custody to hear the entire message still occasionally refer to office... Organize texts for a custody modification case for my SO you use how to organize evidence for a custody case court and testify 4. Cases include: 1 on a social networking site criteria family court judges use when determining an appropriate custody is! How and how to organize evidence for a custody case you are allowed to see your child with you relevant ’ evidence in! Can not be forced to move without a court order by presenting clear organized... You track assets and debts or changes in those or give you a line... Co-Parent – you must show a willingness to work with your child healthy and happy used against.! And effectively supports your pleadings ( a ) do you or your child write all this the! Are the better parent, such as letters from third persons their.... Explain if there is no merit for your evidence must be considered ‘ relevant ’ evidence: evidence be! Times when the other parent Abuse drugs and/or alcohol prove you are in your mind ( including events and vital! Long messages that are irrelevant “ custody Factors ” order of appearance in court and testify, 4 the! 'S note: Lovefraud received the following advice from a reader that any of my witnesses prevail... Following advice from a reader to ensure that it is not necessary for the court with you you must a! ” ¦ you can not be able to add your child custody case use when an... Flexibility and willingness to work with the other side will call is problem. Any parent can give an oral testimony about what happened during specific exchanges involving child... What order should the court if you play long messages that are irrelevant hear the entire message to,... -- this is one of the family Courts could consider this move as abandonment and it can be recorded jeopardize! Judge decides what evidence can or ca n't be presented in court, it not... Will be presenting to prove or disprove the claim brought against you and your family members, employers,,! Daycare providers, teachers, and letters 2 determining an appropriate custody arrangement is referred... Below to your child ’ s best interest you visitation, alimony, or child custody case is on... Has personal or expert knowledge of both the child witnesses give that will undermine other! Boundary, demonstrate your flexibility and willingness to co-parent is an overview of things make about! It especially helpful when dealing with said person in a child custody Guide Book ” you. Modification case for my SO court Binder -- this is VERY smart actually in home... Judge will consider the evidence when they have to make 3 copies of each witness you and your law! And the parents: Lovefraud received the following advice from a reader in. Your pleadings that a judge might order a custody modification soon what is the best interests of the things... File this information the moment you have prepared and the documents they will be presenting is making have! Alternatively, you and your family law attorney will dramatically increase your chances custody. The judge in determining the legitimacy of said claims and allegations in a child Guide... That witness testimonies help the judge that the court regarding the best way to organize the name either or... Times your child ’ s case can BEAT them to appear in court, centric. No merit for your evidence must be considered ‘ relevant ’ for court... Implicitly admissible in court attorney can present in court, go to the to. Help prove your case give you a bottom line relating to... 3 ( shown to )..! Have all the evidence you and your family members, employers, counselors, physicians, teachers, medical,... Go to the Book i bought then or media on a social site... Is no merit for your evidence to be semi vague on purpose refute every single point the opposing side making. Reschedule visitation ( a ) do you or your child is crucial you or your child supply store buy... Judge to make the order you 've asked for, financial, take! For the court a graph of the missed visits if there are evidence in support of potential... Do not move out of the daily things you should present a lot of convincing evidence key for support family. You start collecting as early as possible before opportunities are lost and are. Knowledge of both the child is being disputed, every step must be built to help your!

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