We are lucky to have a guest post today from Tim Backes over at Custody X Change! Check the post out below and his bio at the bottom. Thank you, Tim!
Unless you have been in a situation where you are or were one half of a co-parenting duo, it’s difficult to understand all of the frustration that you can feel. It’s incredibly easy to lose control of your thoughts and come off to friends, family, lawyers, and even judges as disorganized and even vindictive when discussing your problems with the other co-parent.
How can you solve this common problem? The easiest solution is to start and maintain a co-parenting journal.
One of the key reasons for why you should keep a co-parenting journal is that it will keep you and your experiences with the other co-parent organized. As this is your journal, and not a shared document, you are free to record anything you want.
Some useful information you might want to consider keeping track of is:
* Accuracy of drop off and pick up times of both parents
* Missed or changed visitations
* Extracurricular activities such as sports practices & games and music lessons as well as missed activities
* Noticeable behavioral changes after time spent with the other co-parent
* Anything out of the ordinary after time spent with the other co-parent
Make it a habit to date and timestamp each journal entry and make plenty of entries. The frequency of your journaling is just as important as the information you record.
Your Words Are Great But Hard Data Is Better
As important as journaling frequently and recording your thoughts and data are, showing evidence is of key importance. Your words are one-sided, but physical evidence is non-bias. It’s much more difficult to ignore pictures and documents than it is words and opinions.
It’s not always easy to get ahold of physical evidence, but a few ideas are:
* Copies of emails or text messages you’ve received from the other co-parent
* Pictures of any bumps, scrapes, or bruises on your child after returning from time with the other co-parent
* Copies of any unused tickets for events your child was supposed to attend with the other co-parent
* Medical bills and receipts from extracurricular activities
* Notes from teachers or school administrators about your child’s behavioral or overall demeanor
It takes a little effort to gather and document this type of information, but hard data that backs up your written or typed journal entries is invaluable. It elevates the perceived trust of your journal as a whole.
If you are one half of a co-parenting team you should be keeping a journal. You should be making entries often, and you should be baking up your words with physical evidence when possible.
The true value of journaling is not each entry by itself. Over time visible patterns will begin to appear, like a child always getting in trouble at school after spending a weekend with the other co-parent, or a very visible pattern of routinely missed visitations.
By documenting everything, you have hard evidence to show your mediator or judge. And, in court, evidence is everything.
Tim Backes is the senior editor for Custody X Change, a co-parenting custody scheduling software solution.