There are numerous different types of evidence and documents that are required in child custody court, for example:
- Income information – such as pay stubs and tax returns showing financial stability;
- Medical records – demonstrating the child receives proper care;
- School records – showing the child’s grades;
- Police reports – documenting any incidents with the other parent;
- If a visitation schedule exists – a list of any missed parenting time;
Other documents that are helpful:
- Expense reports – showing how the parent contributes to the child’s financial needs;
- Logs of texts, emails, or other written communications – with the other parent;
- Logs of phone calls showing communication – with the child; and
- Photos or videos – showing the child’s stable home life.
This is, of course, not an exhaustive list, as each case is unique. Your lawyer will know how to organize evidence for a custody case as well as how to find an expert witnesses, if needed.
A lawyer will also be familiar with any other types of witnesses in civil cases. Witnesses can be helpful to demonstrate how being with one parent is in the best interests of the child.
How Will This Evidence Make My Child Custody & Visitation Case Stronger?
This evidence will make an individual’s child custody and visitation case stronger because it shows that it is in the child’s best interest to remain with or have visitation with the parent. The child’s best interest standard is used by courts across the country when determining family court issues.
Although there is no exact or perfect formula to determine what is in a child’s best interests, the analysis usually includes numerous factors that are tailored to the particular child, such as:
- The parent’s ability to care for their child;
- The relationship the child has with that parent; and
- Which home is better suited for the child’s needs or adjustment.
Under this standard, the interest of the child will prevail over the desires of the parents when a court is determining custody and visitation. This standard is used to ensure that children, a vulnerable class of individuals, are given the utmost protections.
Under this standard, the parent who is taking custody of a child has to be able to provide a stable home environment as well as be able to ensure their safety and well-being. A family lawyer will be familiar with this standard and best equipped to present a convincing argument in court.
Family lawyers can also represent parents during family mediations. Mediation may be used as an alternative for a courtroom trial.
All of the documentation listed above can be used in both a trial or mediation. If a parent can show they are financially able to care for their child and can provide them with a stable home, they will be more likely to obtain custody.
The process for obtaining court orders for child custody or visitation can vary by state as each state has its own statutes that govern these issues. All states, however, put the child’s best interests above the preferences of any other parties involved.
How to File Evidence in Family Court for a Child Custody & Visitation Case
Parents who are involved in divorces or legal separations will have to handle issues that involve child custody and visitation. Although a parent can petition the court themselves, it is very important to have the assistance of an attorney.
A parent’s attorney will be able to handle the petition for them and is best equipped to present evidence for a favorable custody arrangement. The following article will provide a guide about the types of evidence that an individual will likely need to gather to support their case and how their attorney can help.
What If This Is Not Accepted by the Courts as Evidence?
In some instances, evidence may not be accepted by a court for various legal reasons. The best way to ensure evidence is accepted by a court is to have a lawyer present the evidence.
A lawyer will be familiar with the rules of evidence, which dictate the types of evidence that can be used and how they can be submitted to the court. An individual’s lawyer can help them gather the right type of evidence to support their case.
It may also be helpful to have multiple documents that support one element of the child’s best interest standard. For example, a parent could produce photographic evidence of the child’s room as well as records of their good grades to show they have a stable environment.
If certain evidence is not accepted by a court, an individual’s attorney can advise them on the best way forward or how to use other evidence to show the same facts.
Why Do I Need a Child Custody and Visitation Order?
In some cases, it is necessary for the court to determine the custody arrangement for a child or children. This may include one parent having sole custody, one parent having primary custody, or the parents sharing joint custody.
A custody and visitation order can give parents peace of mind when they are determining primary responsibility for their child. In general, a family court will favor joint custody in order to allow the child to have continued full access to each of their parents.
Joint custody also helps ensure that each of the parents have continuing involvement in their child’s life. Joint custody can be appropriate if the parents live close to one another, which can help reduce any disruptions to the child’s school schedule.
It is important to be aware that, without a custody and visitation order in place, it may be impossible to take action against the other parent if they take the child somewhere unapproved or unannounced. During this process, it is important for each parent to be represented by their own attorney to ensure they consider all of the possible consequences and that their rights are protected.
What Evidence Will the Court Consider When Drafting the Order?
When drafting the custody and visitation order, the court will consider all of the evidence discussed above, as it demonstrates each parent’s ability to provide a stable home for the child. The maturity and age of the child will also influence the custody decision.
Whatever category of custody is ordered, that order will outline who will be responsible for the child’s physical living arrangements. The parent who has custody will also be responsible for the child’s well-being, medical, and education needs.
Because custody issues are important and have great bearing on the lives of everyone involved, it is best to have the help of a lawyer. If there are any other issues, such as paternity, they can also be resolved during these proceedings.
In certain states, if the parents are not married, the mother will be given primary custody initially until the father petitions the court for custody or visitation. If the individual who is seeking custody is not a parent, they may be able to request a non-parent custodial order.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me With My Evidence?
Your family lawyer can help you with evidence if you are trying to obtain child custody or visitation. Your lawyer will have the training and expertise to help you gather the appropriate evidence to show that being in your custody is in your child’s best interests.
If you have experienced a significant change in life circumstances since your previous order was put into place, your lawyer can help you request a modification.