CUSTODY BATTLES AND THE PAPER TRAIL THAT FOLLOWS:

In the electronic world of text messaging, email and videos, custody battles can take a very negative or positive turn. Although text messages are the most utilized forms of communications, preserving the communication can be challenging. In addition to the challenge of preserving a text message, parties often have a difficult time insuring that the communication is civil.

A good example of this is where one parent says something negative about the other parent which causes the other parent to respond using expletives or other negative communication. Unfortunately, if this communication is presented at trial, a judge will not be concerned about the hurt feelings of the parties but the effect that the communications on the child. In addition, preserving text messages usually requires the use special “Apps” that could result in hundreds of corresponding texts. Requiring a judge to review hundreds of text messages could result in loss of time and money during a contested custody trial. Creating a paper trail by email could prove more effective.

Email communications are often the preferred method of communication by the court. Not only can an email be more easily authenticated then a text message, the sending parent usually thinks before sending negative language to the other parent. In addition to email communications, videos may also prove helpful at trial.

Parents sometimes use a short video to document an eventful pick up or drop off in a pending or ongoing custody case. A video is usually more descriptive however, it too can show negative behaviors between the parents in front of the child.

In light of the electronic world that we live in, parents should recognize that if a written communication or video is presented at trial, it may help determine the judge’s decision. A court might, award the parties joint legal custody where they have a good track record of communicating about the child, sole physical custody where one parent is toxic during pick ups and drop offs, and or “tie breaking authority” where one parent refuses to respond to messages in a reasonable time period. If are involved in a custody battle and have an attorney, it’s always a good idea to B cc your attorney on emails so that the email is preserved by the attorney for potential use at trial.

If you find yourself in an entangled custody battle, do not hesitate to contact The Law Offices of Lynndolyn Mitchell PC for a consultation or legal representation.

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