Every parent who appears before a judge in a child custody matter expects the court to believe that they are most capable of providing a safe and nurturing environment for their child(ren). Although personal testimony can be moving, extrinsic objective evidence about your positive parenting skills or your ex-partner's flaws will make your plea that much more convincing. So how important is evidence in child custody battles? Extremely. The New Jersey Court system takes child custody and wellness matters very seriously. The more evidence you can present to the court, the more confident they will feel placing your child under your legal and physical supervision. Below we'll discuss the best way you can prepare for success at your child custody hearing.
Have a Game Plan
A divorce or separation comes with a great deal of change. You may be facing relocation challenges as well as arguments about the division of property and, especially, your children. With so much chaos, it's easy to neglect day-to-day tasks that require organization. However, scrambling at the last minute to gather evidence will not be beneficial for your mental well-being or the strength of your case. If you feel lost on where to start, our skilled Family Law Team can help you by suggesting what documents you will need to start gathering and the best way to organize them. Helpful tools such as DropBox, iCloud, or OneDrive can be easy ways for you to access old documents and organize incoming information.
What's Relevant, What's Not?
As with any legal question, the answer is “It depends.” Every custody battle will have unique considerations that a court must evaluate that are specific to your child's needs. That being said, the categories of evidence addressed below are routinely a part of the divorce and custody process.
Photographs And Videos
Although you will likely tell the court that you have a strong bond with your child, it is another thing for them to see this. Photographs of you two together at their activities, with family, or doing hobbies together demonstrate your capacity to provide a nurturing environment for them.
Evidence of neglect or abuse can also be helpful. In instances where your custody battle involves allegations of domestic violence, drug use, neglect, etc., photographic evidence can add credibility to your claims. For instance, photographs of injuries or environmental messes and dangers can be helpful if you are arguing that your ex-partner is abusive or neglectful of your child.
Academic And Health Records
The court will want to review your child's academic and health records. Be sure to track and retain your child's school records, such as attendance records, report cards, test scores, and disciplinary comments, as well as correspondence with their teachers and service providers.
Similarly, the court will also want to consider your child's unique emotional and medical needs. Keep track of vaccination records, treatment plans, annual checkups, counseling services, etc.
In instances where you are the primary parent responsible for attending to your child's educational and medical needs, your record-keeping abilities will only convince the court that much more of your parenting skills and dedication.
Although it's never fun to drag family, friends, or acquaintances into our relationship issues, objective statements can help the court understand how the outside world views your child as well as their needs. Has a family member witnessed any violence? Does your child's therapist have any recommendations? Do coaches or neighbors see how differently your child responds to you versus your partner? All of these statements can help. Work with our Family Law Team to brainstorm about what witness statements will be beneficial to your case.
The Family Law Team At The Lento Law Firm Is Ready For Your Call!
Preparing for a New Jersey custody battle can be an emotionally exhausting experience. Nothing is more important than your relationship with your child during this time. Our dedicated and compassionate Family Law Team can help alleviate your stress and strategically prepare for your family's future. Contact us at any time by calling (888) 535-3686 or by using our online contact form.