In my previous blog, I discussed three things you should never do while in the midst of a custody case. Now, I will lay out three things you should do if you ever find yourself involved in a custody case.
Cooperate with the Other Parent
Regardless of how difficult the other parent is, you need to show the court that you are willing and able to work with the other parent for the benefit of the child. It is important to put your feelings aside and realize that your ex-partner is a huge part of your child’s life. Refusing to work with the other parent or stooping to their level not only can cost you time with your child in the long run, but it also makes it more difficult for your children. At the end of the day, the children are the ones that suffer when the parents do not get along and refuse to cooperate for their benefit.
Document Everything You Can
It is important to keep documentation of a few key things:
- Communications with the other parent;
- Academic records;
- Phone calls.
Having documentation of your communications with the other parent when discussing matters related to your child(ren) can be helpful when the other parent isn’t truthful or is attempting to misrepresent something to the court. Visitation logs should be kept to demonstrate each time you or the other parent spends time with the child(ren). This can help you illustrate to the court the bond that you have with your child(ren) or the lack of bond that the child(ren) have with the other parent. It is equally as important to keep a log of all phone calls you have with your child(ren) when they are not in your care. Even missed calls should be documented (date, time) which will demonstrate the effort that you make to maintain contact with your child(ren) when they are not in your care. Academic records are also important to demonstrate how the child is performing in school, which is one of the factors that is considered when analyzing the best interests of the child.
Exercise Your Parenting Time
You can’t adequately demonstrate to the court that it’s in the best interests of your child for you to have custody when you can’t even manage to utilize the parenting time that you already have with your child. Make sure that you are consistently exercising your parenting time.
In addition, it is important that you are not just doing the “fun” things with your child. You need to show the court that you are a responsible parent and can handle the more difficult aspects of parenting, such as disciplining. You also need to make sure that you are involved in your child’s everyday life, even if you don’t get to see them every day. Attend your child’s extracurricular activities and events, help them with their homework when they are with you.
Keep in mind that this list is not exhaustive. There are additional things that may need to be documented depending on the needs of your case. Contact one of our Michigan attorneys at Grewal Law PLLC online to determine what steps you need to be taking for your custody case. Your consultation is free!