Last month we discussed the importance of tracking the time you spend with your children. It’s equally important to keep a journal or daily log to document any other interaction you have with your children as well as with their mother. Not only does this show you’re a responsible and well-organized parent, but you will also have an accurate log of dates and activities for quick reference that can be used to your advantage when determining child custody.
Tips for Keeping Records
1. Computer software that creates spreadsheets or text documents is ideal for keeping records, as it’s easy to access and organize. Keeping a handwritten journal is also acceptable; however, be sure to scan or copy your notes in case you should lose or damage the original.
2. Regularly email copies of your records to your attorney and send a copy of the email to yourself. This will help show that you’ve been consistently keeping records over a certain period of time.
3. Include dates and times for each of your entries and keep your entries to the point and as unbiased as possible.
4. Save phone bills and document all of your phone calls and their durations. This includes calls to and from your children, ex-spouse/former partner, and lawyer. While you can notate the topic of each phone call, don’t go into detail regarding every discussion. If needed, use a separate journal to record discussions in detail.
5. Be sure to also record in-person conversations.
6. Track when you make child support payments as well as any other applicable payments, reimbursements, and related expenses—such as medical, dental, or transportation costs. Make copies of any checks and get a receipt for any payments made in cash. Keep all invoices for expenses paid for your children and ex-spouse.
7. Record the times when you have your children with you, your activities, locations, etc. Include days and times when you dropped off and picked up your children as well as any days and times when visitation schedules are broken.