Tips for Effectively Co-parenting

– Be extremely careful of what you post on social media and research what the other parent posts on social media because most evidence that’s obtained from social media is admissible in court. Anyone can do a basic google search and find everything that involves that person that’s on the internet and wasn’t posted to a private audience. People can also use http://www.pipl.com to find people’s online accounts. Make sure that you post anything that you wouldn’t want the other parent to read to only your friends. If you find something troubling on the other parent’s social media, then take a timestamped screenshot of the post and the other parent’s the full profile for that social media account.

– Use an electronic or large paper calendar to create a written record of everything to do with your child when he/she is with you. Record what you’ve done and plan to do with your child – when you’re scheduled to have parenting time, if it didn’t happen, and the events you went to and things that you did. Record all communications – calls, emails, and texts, successful or unsuccessful – to or about your child.

– Record what happens to your child when he/she is with the other parent or a person who the other parent knows. In addition, record your communications with the other parent. Write down and, if possible, audibly or visually record your child’s stories regarding negative things that happened when he/she was with the other parent. Audibly and, if possible, visually record communications between you and the other parent or anyone else whom you don’t trust that occur via phone, Skype or Google Hangout, and in-person, especially during drop offs and pick ups. The easiest way to audibly record this information would be with a small, handheld recording device, but there are shoe box sized audio recorders. You could also visually record your child speaking or you and the other parent having a conversation by using a camcorder or SmartPhone cell phone.

– Be informed about your child’s physical and mental health and what is being done to take care of them. You have the right to request all of your child’s medical, mental health, and dental records at any time. This information would be especially important if you believe that your child might be being abused or neglected while at the other parent’s house or you are being accused of abusing or neglecting your child. If the other parent took your child to a doctor, mental health care provider, or dentist without obtaining your permission, then make a written, audio, or visual record of that, as that’s depriving you of your parental right to take part in providing medical, mental health, and dental care for your child. If it continues, then you should file a motion for parenting time assistance.

– Use online resources to communicate with and share photos with the other parent, such as the following:

1) Use http://www.ourfamilywizard.com to communicate with the other parent regarding their children and maintain a calendar for events, pick up and drop off, and etc. It shows when messages are viewed, and messages can not be deleted. You receive an email whenever there is a message. It is secured with an username and password, so the “I don’t know if that’s really you” can’t be said plausibly. Its content are admissible in court. The court can order parents to use the website. There’s even a cell phone app. It seems to be preferred by Minnesota District Courts Family Courts judges, attorneys, and mediators since many of them either order or suggest that it be used. 
The cost of the service is $99 per year per parent.

2) Use http://www.talkingparents.com to communicate with the other parent. It shows when messages are viewed, and messages can not be deleted. You receive an email whenever there is a message. It is secured with an username and password. Its contents are admissible in court as evidence. It can be court ordered to be used.

3) Use http://www.cofamilies.com to keep track of appointments, school events, project and homework due dates, pick up and drop off, and etc. It has a private setting so that you can add personal things, such as things that your child said in your presence. Make sure to uncheck the child as a participant, as well. There is a $1 per month suggested donation for using the service.

4) Use http://www.bothparents.com to communicate and send pictures to the other parent. There is 1 email for the parents to communicate with. There is also a calendar for events, pick up and drop off, and etc.

– Use the Backup + App. on your Android cell phone or the comparable app. on your IPhone cell phone to backup your text messages and call logs to your email.

– If you suspect that your child is being abused by the other parent or you are being accused of abusing your child, then obtain Child Protective Services records regarding your child. 
Contact the Child Protective Services office(s) for the county(ies) in which you and the other parent live and request their records regarding your child. You will need identification and you will usually need your child’s birth certificate.

– If you’re going to or plan on going to court for a custody or divorce case, then you should do these two things. First, solicit from your friends, family, and co-workers character reference affidavits or ask them to come to court to testify for you. The affidavits must state how they know you, how long they have known you, what they have observed regarding your behaviors towards your children, your lifestyle, your character, and your personality. Second, obtain proof of your texts and call log from your cell phone service provider. It might be possible to print them from your online account. You can request bills, but usually only up to 1 year back, which will show your call log. You can try to request records of your texts and call log from your service provider. You can also save your texts on your cell phone, share them to your email address, and then print them on your computer.

– Record comments by your child that indicate that the other parent is neglecting or harming your child or doesn’t support your parenting or is attempting to alienate you from the child. It would be best if the comments were record audibly or visually so that they’re more likely to be admissible in court. Making a written record of your child’s statement isn’t admissible in court as hearsay since the only way to prove that someone said something is for you hear it. An example of an alienating statement for a father would be that the other parent is going to have the child’s last name changed. An example for either parent would be that the other says negative things about you. When your child says something that’s relevant to these issues, don’t ask your child too many questions or he/she will feel uncomfortable and maybe angry at you.

– Obtain information on legal actions that have been taken against the other parent. You can purchase most family, civil, and criminal court cases documents from the Minnesota District Courts that has jurisdiction over the case for a small fee. Contact the court to find out how to request the documents. In addition, basic information regarding those cases is available online, as long as you know the person’s full name and where he/she lives for civil and family cases and know the previous identifiers and the person’s birthdate for criminal cases. Civil cases would include damages for property damage, assaults, and infringement upon a person’s ability to fully exercise his/her property or other financial rights, car accidents, past due debt payments, and etc. Criminal cases would include property crimes such as burglary and destruction of property and violent crimes such as assault, robbery, and stalking / harassment.

– If you might need to take take the other parent to court for custody issues or divorce, then create a free photobook on http://www.shutterfly.com. It stores a lot of photos, so it would make it easy for you to find and print or email photos for evidence of you being a great parent. Take pictures of your child and you spending time together at home, at school, at church, and in the community. Take photos of your house, especially including your child’s bedroom, playroom, family room, and the dining room. If you are denied court-ordered parenting time, then take a photo of the other parent’s automobile at home to show that the parent is at home and you tried to pick up your child and anything that shows that your child is not with you. Make sure to timestamp your photos or they won’t be admissible as evidence in court.

– When you’re denied court-ordered parenting time, you should call the police to report it. The police won’t force the other parent to allow your child to be with you. However, calling the police will often result in a police officer writing an incident report, which will create written evidence that you were denied parenting time. Make sure to obtain the police officer’s full name, badge number, and phone number, so that you can later call the police officer to request a copy of the incident report. If the police officer says that he/she won’t or can’t write an incident report, then write an incident report, making sure include in it the police officer’s identifying information.

– Keep paper or electronic records of all of your child support payments and recipets of things that you pay for your child.

This information was obtained from a Facebook post by Jinelle Reynolds, member of The Fathers’ Rights Movement, and my professional and persona knowledge and experience

Christie L. Thompson
Family Law Paralegal
651-775-7899, christie@christielegal.net

#custody #child support #divorce #grandparent visitation

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