Parents in California who are getting a divorce might wonder what kind of documentation they should bring to a child custody hearing to increase the likelihood of getting custody. Any documentation should be submitted to the court ahead of time so the judge can review it. When one parent initiates custody proceedings and submits paperwork, the other parent should get copies of that paperwork.
This can help a parent decide what documentation to submit, but there are certain types of documentation all parents should have. One is a visitation log. This can be used by a noncustodial parent to demonstrate a relationship with the child. If the noncustodial parent’s visitation has been erratic, the custodial parent can use it to demonstrate that. Phone call logs may also be helpful in a similar way. However, custodial parents should also be aware that noncustodial parents may use these logs to claim that they were not allowed access to the child. This can hurt a parent’s custody case since courts prefer for parents to be cooperative.
Parents may want to include other types of records as well. For example, report cards can show that the child thrives under one parent’s care. If the child is frequently injured with the other parent, a parent may want to bring documentation that shows that.
Going to court is not an inevitable outcome for parents who are getting a divorce. They might be able to negotiate an agreement. An alternative dispute resolution process, such as meditation, might help parents reach an agreement even if they are in conflict. Furthermore, courts attempt to make a decision that is in the best interests of the child, but negotiation may also provide parents with the opportunity to make a creative schedule for custody and visitation that better suits their family situation.