Shelly Jean John
Not Enough Evidence for New Orders?
What to do when you don’t have enough evidence to get new orders?
We know from a previous blog that in order to change your custody/visitation order, the law may require that you show there has been a Substantial Change of Circumstances since the time when the order was made.
What do you do when you want to change the orders but nothing “Significant” has happened?…when your frustration is due to a bunch of little things that have been going on like when the other parent is late, mom doesn’t follow through with changes to the parenting schedule, or when your child tells you that the new girlfriend is trash talking you? The most important thing to do is to implement my suggestions about “How to Get Along with a Porcupine.” But, for cases that cannot seem to get out of the courtroom, there is an underutilized piece of evidence that often gets the Judge’s attention. The Judge will not want to hear every single time the other parent does wrong – actually, there are risks to overwhelming the Judge with too many details. But, it is important that you have a list of the other parent’s bad behavior as it happens. Buy a Weekly calendar at the office supply store because it has enough lines to include detail. Keep a detailed calendar of each day and write down whether the other parent was supposed to have the kids, did s/he get them, and if not, what did the other parent do to interfere. It is important that your entries be made on (or very close to) the day of the event.
Contemporaneous writings are more likely to be admitted into evidence than a calendar that is recreated from your memory. Similarly, keep track of things your child tells you but do not interrogate your child or ask them to tell you what is happening during the other parent’s time.
When the totality of the bad behavior rises to the level of a “Substantial Change of Circumstances,” then you will introduce the calendar as a piece of evidence. You will have to “lay a foundation” for it and there are smart ways to use the log in your case. This is where your lawyer comes in!
Call or email me if you are in this situation and would like legal assistance utilizing this evidence in Court.