So, you have tried everything and now it looks like you are going to trial over custody of your children. What can you do to prepare? There are actually more ways than you could think of to get ready for your case.

First, have proof at your fingertips of your personal knowledge of your child’s wellbeing, both physical and personal. You need to be able to show the Court you know the exact needs of your child, including their daily routines, sleep habits and after school activities.

You need to be able to demonstrate your intimate knowledge of their teachers, grades and closest friends.

It is highly recommended, if not crucial to keep a daily journal. This can only help when you reach your trial date and questions arise as to incidents that may be well over a year or more in the past. The journal should document your daily interaction with each child.

Perhaps more important, your journal should also reflect your concerns regarding their physical and mental health. Issues of bullying or being bullied at school. Any signs of depression or anxiety you may notice, including changes in behavior. Steps that you have taken individually and in combination with the child’s other parent. School, music, art and athletic events you have attended and celebrations of your child’s accomplishments.

You will also need to begin compiling evidence to back up your position that custody should be awarded to you. This includes,but is certainly not limited to your degree of cooperation and communication with your spouse. You will also want physical records of your child’s schedules including school and extracurricular activities. You will need records such as texts, emails and recordings that will show the Court your willingness to co-parent, particularly if these attempts are rebuffed by your spouse.

Witnesses are also are very important part of preparation for a custody trial. The best witnesses are unbiased witnesses, for example a daycare provider who has seen you drop off or pick up your child on numerous occasions. Your child’s pediatrician is also a powerful bystander, not only to observe if you are the one bringing the child to his or her appointments, but also to the child’s health as a professional. Also, neighbors, who have seen you with your children, and your children’s friend’s families, who have spent time with your child independently can often have very powerful impacts.

Preparing for trial can seem overwhelming, but following these steps will simplify and prepare you for the Court hearing, putting you at an advantage through preparation and attentiveness, which will not go unnoticed by the Judge.