A lot of different kinds of family law disputes can arise after you have finalized your divorce agreement and parenting plan. The other parent, for example, might accuse you of not fulfilling your parental responsibilities. The other parent might say that you aren’t a fit parent and try to take your child custody rights away from you. This is a terrifying circumstance, but if you’re appropriately prepared, you may have a better chance of winning such a challenge.

Although challenges to custody don’t happen very often after a finalized divorce agreement or child custody decree, the parents who have diligently maintained a parenting journal could potentially weather these them better than the ones who don’t. Here’s what kinds of notes you should include in a parenting journal:

  • Times when you the other parent was late picking up or dropping off your child.
  • Canceled or missed child custody visits.
  • Times you took your child to health appointments and relevant notes about medical information relating to those appointments.
  • Information concerning discussions with the other parent.
  • The mood and emotions of your child while he or she is spending time with the other parent.
  • The behavior of your child.
  • Pending information that should be discussed with the other parent.
  • The progress of your child in school and while participating in other activities.
  • Developmental milestones of your child.
  • Important notes that you don’t want to forget concerning your child.

As for where you should record this information, you could do it in the calendar of your smartphone. You could record it into a computer. You could put it on the squares of a monthly calendar, or just put it in your diary or in a paper child custody journal. Be sure to include dates and times to provide the most accurate information possible. All of this information will be immeasurably helpful should any kind of child custody dispute ever arise.

Source: CustodyXChange, “Keeping a Parenting and Visitation Journal,” accessed Aug. 11, 2017