Court decisions about custody usually take time, especially when divorcing parents don’t agree on what should happen. The sadly familiar phrase “long drawn out custody battle” doesn’t have to apply, but it often does.
Many smart and focused parents looking for the best attainable outcome from custody proceedings establish and carefully maintain a “custody journal” or “parenting journal.”
A process that benefits from your undivided attention
There may be plenty of time between filing for divorce and the final, court-approved settlement and parenting plan. Unless you and your spouse are already in agreement, the court is likely to decide who’ll make school, medical and other decisions as well as who’ll have physical custody and visitation rights, and related issues.
In most cases, while you wait, you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse will continue to have your children in both your lives. Meanwhile, there may be a schedule of meetings, calls, hearings, deadlines, evaluations, etc.
Journals can help everyone from children to the judge
Keeping a journal can not only help you track all this, it can help you to show your focus on how your kids are coping, how and how well you and your spouse are coordinating, negotiating and respecting each other’s rights and responsibilities.
There may be questions and disputes about what happened, when, what was said, and why. The parent who can show documentary evidence that they are well organized, focused on the children’s best interests, staying flexible and fair, and ready with answers is likely to be much appreciated by everyone involved.
Your attorney can receive copies of your journal on a regular basis to help them maintain a clear understanding of their client and the family’s situation. The judge can be presented with the journal as a vivid record.
The journal can also keep you on track, focused on how your children are developing and coping, and help reassure you that you’re on task and progressing despite the emotional and logistical headaches.