If you’re in the throes of a child custody dispute, you may want to take the following advice to defend your custody rights in court: Keep a diary of all your parenting activities.

When ruling on matters relating to child custody, Maryland family law courts will weigh the past parenting activities of the parents heavily in their decision-making. For example, if your spouse was the one who took care of nearly all of your child’s needs, by driving the child to school, feeding him or her, reading bedtime stories and so on, the court may be inclined to award physical custody to your spouse instead of you. As such, you may want to keep a log of the parenting activities you participate in every day.

How to keep a child care diary

Keeping a child care diary is simple, but it requires the discipline of actually sitting down to do it each day. In your journal — which could be as simple as jotting some notes down on each day of your calendar, you’ll want to note the date and everything you did with your child that day:

  • Did you help feed the baby?
  • Did you get up with your son in the middle of the night to look for monsters after a nightmare?
  • Did you read your kids a bedtime story?
  • Did you drive the kids to school?
  • Did you make breakfast, box lunch for school or dinner?
  • Did you play with your baby?
  • Did you take the kids to the doctor or dentist?
  • Did you change the diapers?
  • Did you go to a teacher-parent meeting at school?
  • Did you take your kids to their soccer match?

Document any and all parenting activities you did on a particular day. Also, save relevant texts and emails. Also, make a note of the activities that your ex participated in as well. You’re not trying to paint your ex to look badly here — you’re staying objective without adding your own opinions to it.

In addition, save pictures of you and your kids doing different activities together. Did you play in the park? Snap a photo. Did you go to a play at the theater? Snap a photo. Save these pictures in an album or computer file for future use.

This information can help you in your child custody dispute

Having this kind of journal and documentation of your parenting activities will be valuable to you during your child custody dispute. It could help secure your parental rights as you make your case for why you should maintain either full or partial custody of your kids.