Keeping a journal of your parenting activities is a great way to safeguard your parental rights. If the other parent challenges your parental rights in court by falsely accusing you of not being involved or being a negligent parent, you can use your parenting journal entries to prove your commitment and dedication to your children as one of their primary caretakers.
If you can see the benefit of using a parenting journal like this, here are a few things to keep in mind:
It's not a massive commitment: When most people think about journaling, they think about boring hours sitting over a notebook recording the intimate details of their lives. But this is not what it's like to journal about your parenting time. In fact, a child care journal can be as simple as typing a few notes into the calendar of your smartphone. Or, just write a line or two in a simple notepad.
Write down the essentials: Some parents like to make their parenting journal more involved and creative, but if you keep to the essentials, it's enough. Write down the date, the activities you did with or for your children, and any other relevant notes. You might want to also take note of any behavioral concerns or questions you may have for the other parent. Make note of instances in which the other parent violates the parenting agreement, for example, by being late to pick up or drop off your children.
Include photos: Photos are another great way to document your activities with your kids. Simply snapping a dated photo of your children and saving it to your smartphone is enough. If it's ever required, you can match up those photos with your parenting journal at a later time.
Keep a parenting journal while you're married: Married parents may also want to keep a parenting journal. You never know if your marriage will endure. This journal could serve as proof that you participated as a primary caretaker if push comes to shove in court during an unexpected divorce.
If you're parenting rights are being challenged, having a parenting journal will certainly help. However, no matter what kind of evidence is involved in your child custody matter, you can benefit from learning more about your rights and options under California family law.