A significant period of time can lapse from the filing of your divorce petition to the conclusion of your divorce. During this period of time, your life with your children and working with your spouse continues. Throughout the divorce process you may meet with your divorce attorney, a guardian ad litem, and/or a psychologist, attend mediation and testify at trial.
In Florida, if you are in trial and forget an event or specific information about an event, you can have your memory refreshed with the use of a journal. Here are some helpful tips on how to write a journal in preparation for a contested child custody case:
- Personally write the journal
- Write each entry contemporaneously in time with the event that occurred for which you are writing
- Date each entry and include time when possible
- Journal where the incident took place
- Journal any witnesses to the incident and if relevant their contact information
- Do not use your journal to vent. The purpose of your journal is to memorialize the facts of an event for later recollection and to assist your divorce attorney in the preparation of your divorce;
- Be careful with what you journal. Although your journal prepared for the purpose of litigation can be protected from the discovery process, it will be made available to your spouse's divorce attorney if you need to use it to refresh your recollection at trial. Therefore do not make any crude comments about your spouse or other statements that will place your character in a negative light.
- If you document an argument or fight, journal whether your children were involved in or witnessed the incident. Journal the children's physical response such as crying, holding his or her hands over his or her ears or eyes, etc.
- Carefully document any statements made to you by your spouse. Only put quotations marks around a statement if it is an exact quote.
- Balance being brief with your journal entries with including all pertinent information. Although you may have a lot of information to tell your divorce judge, you will have a limited time frame upon which to tell your story to the judge.
- Write down not only events but also nonevents such as missed visitations, your spouse's failure to perform certain obligations or appear at child-related events
- Journal what you do with your children on a daily basis such as helping with homework, taking them to the park or beach, making a home cooked meal, etc.
In addition to your journal, your divorce attorney may use photographs, video, and physical objects to present your divorce case. Do not limit yourself. If you are faced with a situation where you are fighting for your children, preparation is essential.
If you have any questions about this article, please contact Rebekah Brown-Wiseman in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.