Do you feel like your child custody order is no longer tenable? If so, then you need to figure out how to modify it to protect your child’s best interests. While you can try to negotiate a new arrangement with your child’s other parent, you need to be prepared to take the matter to court if those efforts are unsuccessful. The thought of being dragged into a legal battle may leave you feeling nervous, but you can alleviate your fears and properly advocate for your child by being fully prepared heading into your child custody dispute.
But how do you prepare to litigate a child custody modification request? To start, you have to gather persuasive evidence that supports your arguments.
Where can you look for evidence to support your child custody modification request?
The specific evidence that you present in your child custody case is going to depend on the issues at hand. Here are some ideas of places to look for evidence that might support your position:
- Criminal records: If your child’s other parent was recently charged or convicted of a criminal offense, then you might be able to use those criminal cases to show that they’re unfit to care for your child or that they at least need supervision during visitation. Since criminal cases are public record, you should be able to gain access to these records fairly easily.
- Police reports: Not all interactions with law enforcement lead to criminal charges. However, interactions with the police can be insightful into the home life that your child’s other parent perpetuates. So, see if you can get your hands on police reports to determine if a pattern of behavior in the household puts your child at risk.
- Mental health records: Lots of people are dealing with mental health issues. That doesn’t make you a bad parent. However, those who forego mental health treatment and leave their symptoms unchecked could exhibit behavior that poses a danger to their children. If that’s the case in your child custody dispute, then you should try to gain access to the other parent’s mental health records to see if they’re receiving adequate treatment and what’s at risk by failing to adhere to treatment recommendations.
- Social media: Social media can tell a compelling story. If you can see the other parent’s social media, then you should scour it to see if there are any posts that provide insight into their daily living. You might find indications of violent tendencies, substance abuse, or financial struggles, any one of which could be detrimental to your child.
- Witness account: Statements from family, friends, neighbors, and even your child can be telling. These accounts can detail the other parent’s shortcoming and how they negatively impact your child. This can be powerful evidence in your custody dispute, so be sure to get as much detail as you can.
Keep in mind that some of these records, like those pertaining to mental health and substance abuse treatment, may be difficult to access. That doesn’t mean that it’s impossible, though. You just might have to take a few extra legal steps to gain access to the evidence you need.
Don’t leave your child custody dispute to chance
If your current child custody order is putting your child’s safety and well-being at risk, then now is the time to take action to modify it to protect your kid. To increase your chances of being successful here, you’ll need to be diligent and comprehensive in building your case. By doing so, you’ll hopefully present persuasive arguments that convince a judge to side with you, thereby giving your child with the outcome they deserve.