When determining who to award custody of children, courts will often look at which parent serves as the kids' primary caregiver, i.e., the person who has tended to the children's day-to-day needs the most during the marriage. The reason is that it's believed kids have a strong emotional bond towards their primary caregivers that must be preserved; thus, this person is more likely to be awarded custody of the kids. If you want to increase your chances of getting custody of your children, here are a few things you can do to prove you're their primary caretaker:
List Out Your Responsibilities
One thing you can do to prove you are the children's primary caretaker is to make a list of your daily, weekly, and monthly childcare responsibilities. As mentioned previously, the primary caretaker is considered the principal person who took care of the children's daily and intimate needs. Thus, you need to show you fulfilled that role the majority of the time.
For instance, you can describe what you typically do in a day for the kids, such as bathe and dress them, cook them breakfast, and getting them off to school. This list should also include activities that don't directly involve the kids but have an impact on their health and well-being, such as buying clothing and other supplies, cleaning the home, and meeting with teachers.
It may also be helpful to note all of the activities you participate in with your kids using a calendar. If you attend your kids' athletic games every Monday and Thursday, for instance, jot that down on the calendar. You can then submit this with other evidence to support your claim to being the primary caretaker.
Another thing you can do to support your argument is to provide receipts showing you paid for things essential to your children's care. Receipts for rent or mortgage payments, clothing, healthcare, school activities, food, and similar expenditures can prove you have taken financial responsibility for the kids and are providing for their needs. These receipts can be particularly helpful in establishing your role as the primary caregiver if you and the co-parent live separately as it can show the kids spend a lot of their time in your care.
In addition to receipts, you'll also want to gather witness testimony from friends and family stating the various things you do for the kids as well as their interpretation of your relationship with them. Showing other people consider you to be the primary caretaker can also bolster your claim to this status.
To learn more about how to handle this issue in court or help with getting custody of your children, contact a lawyer like William Kirby, Family Law Attorney.