In divorces where the parties have minor children, the court will need to make decisions about which parent will have custody or whether the parents should have joint custody. The court will also need to make other decisions about how and when visitation will occur and how the parents should approach important decisions about the child. These decisions are also made in custody cases where the parties were never married and in cases where the parties are attempting to modify the prior custody decision.
If you want to remain involved in the lives of your children, you will need to be able to show the court that you are already involved and that there is a bond between you and the children. You will need to be able to demonstrate that that you have done things for and with the children. You will also need to be able to demonstrate that you have spent time with the children.
Make Time for Your Children
Even with the best intentions, you may find yourself not spending much time with your children. Ideally, you should always be making time for your children. And, with any sort of court decision looming, your conscious or subconscious choices to spend or not spend time with your children are momentous. So, when that opportunity comes to spend time with the children and you are able, do not hire a babysitter and do not bump them off on extended family or the other parent.
Keep Track of What You Do
Vague assertions that you have spent time with the children do not go very far in the courtroom. The judge will be more convinced by hard facts. So, keep track of what you do with or for your children. If you have helped the child with homework, make note of it and preserve proof. If you went to parent-teacher conference, take note of that, too. Also, if you have helped with meals and bedtime, keep track of that too. Keep track of anything you have done with or for the child. If you have not been keeping track of this information, see what you can do to compile past information and then be sure to keep track in the future.
Keep Track of the Time
Once a court is involved with making orders on child custody, you will need to become a good record keeper of all the time you spend with your child. It will be either your proof for why the court should give you custody, or your defense against accusations. Once again, it takes hard facts to convince judges—not vague assertions. A calendar would be helpful to show hard facts.
Keep track of what overnights the children have spent with you and on what days important things happened. If the other parent is denying you parent time or otherwise not following through, take note of those things.