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What evidence can support specific child custody terms?

On Behalf of | Dec 7, 2023 | Child Custody

Some parents begin the process of crafting child custody arrangements and parenting plans in pursuit of very specific terms. They know exactly what they want, and they simply need to convince their child’s other parent or the courts that those terms are appropriate.

Arkansas parents generally need to work together despite ending their relationship with one another. The courts expect them to communicate about the children and to uphold the custody order once it is in place. Some parents have specific terms that they need to obtain to ensure a healthy relationship with their children or even the safety of everyone in their family. If parents cannot agree on those terms, then the matter will go to family court.

What kinds of evidence can help someone demonstrate the need for specific terms in a custody dispute?

State records

A parent seeking specific custody terms must convince the courts that those terms are in the children’s best interests. The most authoritative records that may play a role in custody matters will come from the state. Perhaps one parent has faced criminal charges related to violence or drug abuse. Maybe the Department of Children and Family Services has investigated the family previously over allegations of abuse or neglect. Records from state agencies can influence what the courts believe would be in the best interests of the children and family. Even school records might help establish a specific timeline of events or certain details about a family’s history that can influence the custody terms imposed during litigation.

Personal records

Sometimes, those experiencing spousal abuse or witnessing someone’s descent into addiction will not involve state authorities. They may instead maintain a journal detailing what they experience and when. Those records could play a role in custody proceedings, although they will be less authoritative than records from the state.

Individuals may also be able to obtain copies of medical records that could help validate claims of habitual drug use or violence toward the children. In some cases, people may even seek witness statements from neighbors, support workers and others who have direct involvement with the family. They can help convince a judge of an individual’s instability or of the nature of the relationship that each parent has with the children. School schedules and employment records can also help when the terms do not necessarily reflect a reduction of one parent’s time but rather than need for a very specific schedule or certain accommodations for one parent.

In general, the more supporting evidence someone has when seeking specific custody terms, the better their chances of convincing the Arkansas courts to agree to their request. Proving details about family circumstances can alter what a judge decides to include in a custody order.