How Do You Win A Child Custody Battle? Document Everything!

Write It All Down Parents

Most of the time, you’re not going to have a neatly organized book of evidence to refer to in court if you’re going through a child custody battle with your ex. It’s not uncommon to hear accounts of parents having to gather evidence in their favor because the other parent is deliberately making them look bad or embellishing the situation, for the judge, in order to get the custody arrangement that they want. In order for the journal strategy to work, you need to have already started keeping track of things early in the game. This has a few negative connotations about what your working relationship with your ex is like or judgments of people’s character but if you suspect that you will be, or currently are, a target for false accusations of negligent parenting then you need to have lists and records of how the events actually took place.

  • However you have to do it. It doesn’t really matter how you keep track of this information. Obviously you don’t want to bring pockets full of napkins with notes on them or notes scribbled on the back of an envelope to the court room but just have something to present on your behalf if you’re up against false allegations from your ex. A good thing to do would be to keep a small book with blank pages in your back pocket or glove compartment in your car. If you think you ex is going to say that you never arrive on time or take the child to a bar instead of the museum, it would help to have an entry in your book from that day about when you picked them up and what you guys did. It’s all hearsay until there’s written proof.
  • Lies and Slander. The records you keep should not be about bad mouthing your ex. It’s easy to start name calling in child custody battles. Your notes should reflect the truth of things. If your journal is filled with entries about how poorly dressed your ex’s new boyfriend or girlfriend is, this hardly says anything about how your kids were treated or how you acted during specific situations. The judge wants to make a decisions based on the facts, and that is exactly what you need to have written down. 

For some people, this is an easy task to add to your routine or maybe you already do it in your everyday life. People who make lists of the things they need to do throughout the day and take notes regularly about different events or thoughts in their lives are actually more likely to do better in court to get custody of their child. It makes you look good if you have organized records; doubly so if the person bad mouthing you in front of the judge lacks in the notes/records department. Being organized in general will do a lot of good in itself. You be able to keep track of daily events, track you or your child’s diet to make sure both of you are eating right, or simply writing down an important thought if it comes to mind; these kinds of things are landmarks in your waking life.

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Posted in A Childs Best Interests, Child Custody, child custody battles, Child Visitation, Children, Courtroom Preparation, Family Court
23 comments on “How Do You Win A Child Custody Battle? Document Everything!
  1. I keep a very detailed access and communication journal. It logs phone calls, support payments, access pick up and drop off and cancellations etc. In fact, it records every interaction relating to or between me, my ex, and the children. I have used as a sworn affidavit in court. I would recommend all separated parents do this. I have mines in table form in a word doc on my computer. It’s very easy to do, and once you get in the habit of entering information in, it because second nature.

    Even if you never need it in court, you always have it as something you can show the children later on, if they ever have any questions about their other parent.

  2. Modern technology works wonders for divorce these days – my smart phone was amazing to have with me. I was able to pull up emails to reference in court and I also had easy access to the Child Support Collection Unit website to pull up exact arrears amounts to date.

    • Awesome! Technology will be playing a larger and larger role in not just family court but all courts. We’re just seeing the beginning.

      • I used facebook as well. I know there have been several cases in which facebook has provided incriminating evidence. It is truly amazing what technology brings to the table.

    • Eileen DePaolo says:

      My lawyer wants me to put the recordings on a CD. I have them on my iPhone. I am not quite sure how to do this. Also, how is this done in court? I have 5 months to prepare for my custody trial. What can be brought into court? My iPhone? My journal? Can I make a powerpoint of the last 3 years that I have been trying to get a divorce ? My trial is in New Your City.

      • In my practical opinion and based upon my experience, you can bring your phone and anything else you have including documents and hand written material in your journal. I do not know which recordings you speak of but just about anything can be downloaded to a CD or flash drive. You can put everything together it just becomes a matter of what the judge finds important and relevant to your case. If I were you, gather everything that you can and organize it all in chronological order – all receipts, messages, emails, everything in writing, photos, internet snapshots and present to your lawyer. He will then be able to use your organized info to develop your case.

  3. ravinj says:

    Email is an excellent way of keeping track. If you communicate with your ex by email or send confirmatory emails about phone conversation with your ex to your ex, it both provides evidence of communication on your end and of what’s going on that you’re communicating about, at the time. A record of emails going both directions can then be very helpful.

  4. I started and then…Stupid me left the notebook out and my kids found it…they spoke to their Dad and well…let’s just say I don’t do it any more 😦
    Though I know I should…

  5. PTL, and thank u for visiting a while back. I forwarded this blog to my daughter in law in hopes that they would read. TODAY, after many prayers, and over a year, my son and his wife were awarded full custody of his daughter.

  6. Yep, I warned them, they have 3 boys already. They are really good parents. I also warned them that they can not get divorced again. 🙂

  7. I wonder if it is really “winning”? I have full custody of my son….his dad doesn’t seem to care and is a deadbeat….Did I win? Did he win? Did my son win? Nope… breaks my heart for my son as well as my two adult children….I was married 24 years, a stay at home mom and wanted the best for my family…..My son was appointed his own attorney by the judge when he was 13 years old. It was stressful in the beginning but proved to be a true blessing….He is 16 years old and is still represented….I am most definitely the stable, loving and caring parent but that doesn’t take away my son’s pain….All I can say is I hope the young chick is worth a devastating loss….I love my son….he is my TOP PRIORITY and there is no one that will interrupt that….probably why I am alone…I don’t care because I am trying to be the best mom that I can be for him….with absolutely no emotional or financial support and it is tough at times….
    But I am no winner and I feel my son has been cheated by his father….there is a loser though, the stupid dad that will one day grow old and full of regret….We can never get back one single day…..ever…

  8. […] How Do You Win A Child Custody Battle? Document Everything! ( […]

  9. […] How Do You Win A Child Custody Battle? Document Everything! ( […]

  10. Tracy Taylor says:

    You hit the nail on the head here. This is why I started My Turn Your Turn in the first place. I heard over and over again,for years, that people going through a divorce or custody battle should write everything down. We provide that place. Thanks for the article.

  11. […] How Do You Win A Child Custody Battle? Document Everything! ( […]

  12. […] How Do You Win A Child Custody Battle? Document Everything! ( […]

  13. […] How Do You Win A Child Custody Battle? Document Everything! ( […]

  14. sandy says:

    please….I do not want any of this on Face Book at all…

    • Hi Sandy,

      Thank you for the information about your case. If you want to discuss some ways to change this situation please contact us directly at and speak with an advocate. Bottom line, the way to get this resolved is to get a court order signed by a judge. We look forward to seeing how we can better assist you, if possible.

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