In divorce and family law matters where custody and visitation of children are at issue, many wonder whether keeping a custody log will help. In other words, does it make sense to get a calendar and take notices of who has the kids when and to also document key events?

When individuals going through a divorce or family law matter contemplate this, it often seems like a whole lot of work. It takes a lot of time after all to document custody each and every day on a calendar.

There are also lots of software programs, digital calendars and applications that can be used to create and maintain a custody log, which is sometimes referred to as a custody calendar. Some of these may help make a custody log easier to maintain.

Ultimately, if there are no serious abuse or neglect allegations, and parties are roughly dividing the custody and visitation time and willing to agree to do so, there might not be a lot of value to a custody log. But in contested custody cases where the parties have very different viewpoints into custody and visitation, there may be some value.

A custody log, for example, might be provided to a guardian ad litem in some instances. If one party is able to show through that the parties have been exercising a specific custody schedule over a long period of time, this might help. If the case involves parental alienation allegations, a custody log may also help to document that a party has been denied their custody time. It’s also possible, in some cases, to submit the custody log into evidence at a trial or evidentiary hearing in the matter. When a custody log is admitted into evidence, it can have an impact with a family court judge in some cases.

At the same time, parties have to be careful not to vent or overly document in their custody log. If it is anything more than simply a calendar of who has the kids and when, and it turns into a diary of sorts about the case itself, sometimes the custody log can actually come back and bite a party.

Thus, if a party is going to utilize a custody log in a custody case, it is vital to speak with an attorney who is licensed and competent to practice law in your jurisdiction. While a custody log might have value in some cases, it might not in others. And while documentation who has the kids when might be useful in some cases, if a party is ranting or becoming overly emotional in the custody log, the custody log might end up doing more harm than good.