From photographs to school records, text messages to family calendars, a variety of evidence may be used during custody litigation in Nebraska. Understanding what evidence is helpful to your case and how to gather it may save valuable time and resources in preparing for a custody trial.
Here are a few reasons why evidence is important in your custody case:
- Evidence may narrow the issues in your case.
- Evidence may promote settlement.
- Evidence will help prepare your case for trial.
Having evidence outside of verbal testimony allows a judge to visually see exactly what you are talking about. Evidence is invaluable in presenting your side in a custody case. So, what kind of evidence should you consider gathering?
One piece of evidence that may be useful in custody cases are journals. Whether you are just beginning the divorce process, are somewhere in the middle, or have just completed your divorce, it may be a good idea to start journaling. In your journal, make sure to include dates, descriptions of incidents, the names of individuals who were involved, contact information for any witnesses (if applicable), and anything else you believe is important.
Another kind of evidence that may be helpful in custody cases are photographs. For custody cases, photographs showing you child’s day-to-day life, their living arrangements, and important people in their life, may help the judge picture the stable, loving, and safe environment you can provide.
Text Messages and Email.
Text messages and email are two forms of written communication that you might think about preserving during your custody litigation. Texts and/or emails may show your attempts to co-parent, an inability of your co-parent to communicate effectively, or changed parenting time arrangements.
Social media is another potential source of evidence. Social media posts that may be helpful in custody litigation include photographs, inappropriate posts, and posts that document interactions with the children and/or third parties.
A calendar is a great piece of evidence when dates and times of events are disputed during custody litigation. So, the sooner you start calendaring—if you haven’t started already—the better. On the calendar, you may note any exchanges between you and your co-parent, any missed parenting time, trips, appointments, activities the children are involved in, and which parent attended each event. In addition to a calendar, a summary of the event—potentially in journal form—may be useful to recall exactly what happened on each date.
Education and Medical Records.
Finally, education and medical records may be relevant during your custody case. To obtain education records, a records request or release of information may be signed and submitted to your child’s school. Education records may be useful to show the number of truancies and/or any educational issues your child may. Under Nebraska law, certified copies of school records that contain attendance and academic progress are admissible into evidence during a trial.
As for medical records, you can sign a HIPAA compliant authorization disclosure for your child’s records, or a subpoena may be issued to the health care provider requesting the pertinent information. Medical records may be useful to document abuse, verify sick days from school, show treatment for any relevant medical or mental health conditions.
Physical evidence is an invaluable way to convey your story to the judge. The types of evidence discussed above are just a few that may help your attorney prepare for settlement and/or trial. If you have evidence that you think is relevant to your custody case, consult with your attorney about the best way to provide them with the evidence.