Keeping a Custody Journal

Keeping a Custody Journal

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What is a custody journal?

A custody journal is an unbiased record of your daily life and how your life supports your child. It’s not a journal in the typical sense; there should be no personal thoughts or reflections. A custody journal could potentially appear in court, and it’s important to keep anything that isn’t relevant or is overly emotional out of the journal.

Why is it necessary?

A custody journal is an incredibly useful tool when it comes to preparing for your hearing. It can help you remember specific moments with your child or your ex, and is a helpful aid for all involved in the custody hearing. Ideally, a custody journal is simply a piece of written record that presents interactions and visits in a fair way. It is an excellent tool for recalling specific dates or events without letting strong emotions dictate what is remembered.

What are some tips for keeping one?

The first thing to remember when using a custody journal is to be consistent. Use it every day and record every interaction between you, your ex and your child. A clear, well-kept record can help to mitigate any quick reactions based on personal judgment or feelings.

Staying organized can help immensely. Whether you keep a physical journal or an electronic one, make sure to use the same format and language when recording all events. Avoid story telling or passionate language, this journal should be facts presented in a clear and neutral tone. Tag each entry with what the general category of the event was: planned visitation, un-planned visitation, child support, correspondence, etc. If your entries are tagged and organized well, it will be easier to spot patterns in behavior and provide them in case they are required at your hearing.

How should I organize it?

Keep a section for all communication records. Again, this could be kept electronically by simply creating a separate file for any correspondence with your ex. Any communication should be recorded, whether it’s recounting a conversation (without using emotional language) in your journal, archiving text messages or filing emails. Color coding can be helpful for pulling up specific instances or conversations. If you’ve chosen to tag your entries, you can assign each tag a color for quick recollection.

Be fair

Most importantly, be fair. A journal that is clearly trying to smear or damage an ex will not help your overall case. When recounting interactions with your ex it is important to write events exactly as they occurred, no matter how it makes you look. A judge will be able to see through attempts to discolor your ex and your journaling efforts will not be taken as seriously as they would be had you written in an impartial and factual way. Contact Jason White & Associates for more advice from successful child custody lawyers in Orem, Utah

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