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Child Custody Factor #8: The home, school, and community record of the child.

When children go through their parent’s divorce or separation, it is often life changing and can be traumatic. In order to protect children, family court judges often strive to maintain stability within each child’s life. That stability often includes the house in which the child was raised, the school where the child has established friendships and familiarity and the surrounding community where the child is used to being raised.

In order to prepare for your child custody case in your divorce action or paternity action, determine what is important to your child (not particularly to you, but to your child) in the community. Is your child involved with a local Boy Scouts group or religious group that is close to your residence? Does the child have regular playdates with particular children at a local park?

If your divorce or separation means that one or both parents are moving, determine whether you or your child’s other parent will be staying within the zone for your child’s school if your child attends a public school or if your child attends private school, will the new location be within reasonable driving distance for the child to continue at the same school. If it is necessary for the child to change schools, it is recommended to find a residence in a good school zone. In Broward County, the public schools are graded and posted as public record. To determine to grade of a school in Broward County go to http://browardschools.com/School-Info and click on “Our Schools” in the horizontal bar.

Some children are very involved in their community and other children are not as involved. In order to create a record of your child’s level of involvement so that you remember if it is necessary to testify in a child custody trial, create a journal.

Make sure that you are prepared to litigate your child custody case, especially when you have a high conflict situation.