Preparing documentation for a child custody hearing

Michigan parents who must go to a child custody hearing should submit their documentation ahead of time. This might include logs for visitation and phone calls, which can be used to show the involvement or lack of involvement of the noncustodial parent in the child's life. A noncustodial parent might also use these logs to demonstrate efforts to visit and contact the child that were prevented by the other parent. This can be unfavorable for the custodial parent since courts generally support parents cooperating to ensure the child has time with both of them.

Parents may want to provide other documentation as well. For example, report cards may be used to show the child thrives with a parent. Teachers, neighbors, childcare workers and others might provide testimony. A parent who is concerned about a child's safety with the other parent may want to provide documentation of injuries, such as medical reports.

If the custody battle is particularly acrimonious, parents may want to set up a custody evaluation. This involves a professional meeting with the child and sometimes going to both parents' homes. A judge might also order a custody evaluation. Whatever the situation, parents who must negotiate or go to court regarding child custody and visitation may want to work with an attorney.

A family law court proceeds from the assumption that it is in the best interests of the child to have contact with both parents. However, there might be situations involving neglect or abuse in which this is not the case. In some situations, a parent might also be concerned about international child abduction. After reviewing evidence, a judge might order one parent to have only supervised visitation or no access at all in these cases. There are also certain safeguards against an international abduction that can be put into place.

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