Best Evidence for Child Custody Cases

Evidence is the most important part of your custody case. It supports what you believe is best for your child. The evidence you present in court determines whether the judge rules in your favor.

You should start collecting evidence immediately — even before you start a case. A lawyer is best equipped to inform you of the best evidence for child custody, but the following will put you on the right path to building a solid case.

What is admissible evidence in family court?

Admissible evidence is evidence you are allowed to present in court. Admissible evidence largely depends on the rules of evidence of your court and the individual details of your case. You'll have to do some research to determine what you're allowed to present.

Inadmissible evidence is evidence you cannot present in family court. For example, hearsay — repeating something you claim another person said — is generally inadmissible. Evidence that is not directly related to an issue in dispute is often inadmissible as well.

The types of evidence discussed here are admissible in most courts.

Best types of evidence for custody cases

Your evidence should demonstrate that awarding you custody is in the child's best interests. The following types of evidence can support your case.

Official documents

Gather official documents to show your parental fitness:

  • Income information like tax returns and pay stubs to show you are financially stable
  • Medical records to show your child receives proper medical care
  • School reports to show your child's grades, which are often a reflection of their home life
  • Police reports of any incidents involving the other parent

Personal records

Personal records are created by you. They can show your present relationships with the child and the other parent and how you contribute to your child's upbringing.

Records that can help your case include:

Photos and videos

The court will want to know whether you have an established relationship with your child. Photos and videos can help show this.

A few examples of what visuals can prove:

  • You have a stable home for the child.
  • You spend time with the child (e.g., taking them on vacation).
  • You attend the child's extracurricular events.
  • You make an effort to keep the other parent involved in the child's life.

Social media posts

Parents may unwittingly post information that could impair their case on social media.

Social media posts can show:

  • The parent's behavior (e.g., frequent partying)
  • The parent-child relationship
  • The relationship between parents
  • Income (e.g., posts about big purchases)

If you plan on using social media posts as evidence, you'll need to prove they are authentic and unedited. Make sure the person's profile name is visible in any screenshots you take, along with the date.


A custody journal can help illustrate your relationships with the child and the other parent.

In your journal, you can document:

  • Situations in which you don't believe the other parent acted in the child's best interests
  • Interactions with the other parent
  • Quality time you spend with the child
  • The child's emotional state
  • The child's medical appointments
  • The child's behavior

Even if you don't use the journal as evidence, a journal can help you figure out whom to call as a witness and recall events when you go to court.

Witness testimony

Witnesses provide context for your allegations. Make a list of reliable witnesses with their names and contact information.

Witnesses can weigh in the following ways:

  • Written testimony (A person writes their firsthand account of an incident relevant to the case.)
  • Out-of-court depositions (A witness answers questions under oath outside of court.)
  • Live witness testimony (You or your lawyer questions your witnesses and the other side's witnesses during trial.)
  • Private testimony from the child (A judge interviews the child to understand their feelings.)
  • Character reference letters (Teachers, coaches and others weigh in on your relationship with your child.)
  • Custody evaluations (An expert writes a report based on their investigation of the family.)

Future plans for the child

The judge will want to see that you've thought about your child's future. To prove this, you can:

  • Prepare a parenting plan and visitation schedule.
  • Explain how you will keep the other parent involved in your child's life.
  • Show that you have childcare arrangements for your child or that you can adjust your work schedule to accommodate your child.

How to organize evidence for a custody case

Once you have the best evidence for your child custody case, you'll need to organize it.

Consider preparing a custody documentation binder to organize your paperwork. A trial binder holds important documents, notes and other evidence you plan to present in court.

Make three copies of each document (one for the judge, one for the witness and one for the other party). Put each document in a clear plastic sleeve to protect it. Use section dividers to organize your paperwork by the following.

  • Court documents (everything you've filed for the case)
  • Opening statements (draft of a summary of the evidence you'll present in court)
  • Evidence (documents, photos, etc.)
  • Information about witnesses (summary of all witnesses, questions you'll ask them, documents related to their testimony that you will give them)
  • Closing statements (draft of a summary of the case you presented)

The tools you need for custody court

The Custody X Change app has many tools to help with your child custody case.

Explore examples of common schedules

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Long distance schedules

Third party schedules


Summer break

Parenting provisions


How to make a schedule

Factors to consider

Parenting plans:

Making a parenting plan

Changing your plan

Interstate, long distance

Temporary plans

Guides by location:

Parenting plans

Scheduling guidelines

Child support calculators

Age guidelines:

Birth to 18 months

18 months to 3 years

3 to 5 years

5 to 13 years

13 to 18 years


Joint physical custody

Sole physical custody

Joint legal custody

Sole legal custody

Product features:

Software overview

Printable calendars

Parenting plan templates

Journal what happens

Expense sharing

Parenting time tracking

Calculate time & overnights

Ways to use:

Succeed by negotiating

Prepare for mediation

Get ready for court