What To Document When Modifying A Custody Arrangement

After your divorce has been finalized, you may have to deal with significant changes regarding the family. Some of which may lead to adjusting or modifying your custody agreements. For instance, someone may need to relocate, there could be a change regarding educational needs, or a parent may be unable to care for the child.

Amending custody requires you to go through the court, so you should have the appropriate documentation to back your request. It serves as evidence, supports your rationale for seeking a custody modification, and demonstrates how it serves the child’s best interests.¬†

The Pillars of a Custody Modification 

The types of documentation you should have include, but are not limited to, current custody orders, financial statements, logs of parental communication, and any documentation reflecting a significant change in circumstances warranting the modification. For example, if a custody adjustment is sought due to one parent’s job relocation, presenting an offer of employment or a relocation notice is indispensable.

These documents validate the necessity for a change. Financial documents such as income statements, tax filings, and child-related expenses are crucial. They assist the court in evaluating if the existing child support arrangements are the best option or if adjustments are needed to reflect the current financial situation of both parents. Without such detailed records, the court cannot accurately determine the needs and capacities of each parent.

Documenting significant shifts in a child’s life is vital, as these can influence their welfare and support a change in custody or support. This includes changes in health status, educational needs, or living conditions. You can have a log that accompanies the relevant documentation. It strengthens the case for modification and ensures the court’s decisions align with the child’s current needs and best interests.

Beyond work-related documents, maintaining a record of parental communication is crucial. This includes all communication related to the child, such as emails, texts, and notes from exchanges during parenting time. These highlight the parents’ ability to communicate and co-parent effectively. Furthermore, documentation of the child’s well-being under the current custody arrangement is paramount. This might include educational records, healthcare documents, or evaluations by child psychologists, especially if the modification is sought on the grounds of the child’s emotional health.

Building a Compelling Case

For the court to make well-informed decisions, you and your chosen legal counsel should present a comprehensive view of the child’s life (and needs) through documentation. Academic reports and statements from educators can be powerful, especially if there’s a noticeable change in the child’s academic performance.

Health-related documents are equally important if changes in the child’s health necessitate a revision of the custody schedule. Evidence of a parent’s active involvement in the child’s life, such as participation in school functions or medical appointments, can bolster a case for adjusting custody or visitation rights.

John M. Totten, P.C.

Understanding the critical role of documentation in custody modification cases is the first step toward a successful outcome. Proper documentation significantly strengthens your position by providing the court with objective evidence. If you’re contemplating a change in custody arrangements, schedule a consultation with us today. We will guide you through the documentation process, ensuring you compile a compelling case for your custody modification request.

John M. Totten