Custody Preparation for Moms

A support site provided by those that have been through the process.
   

 

 

 

Custody Battle Toolkit - A Mom's 10 Essentials

1. Shredder - Never throw away documents related to your case or personal finances without shredding them first.  Consider shredding prescriptions for yourself, and personal correspondence as well.

2. Telephone Recording Device. These are available at Radio Shack for approximately $15.00.  This device is easy to use - it simply connects to your home phone and a tape recorder. It records both parties to a phone conversation. A guide to taping in all 50 states is available at http://www.rcfp.org/taping/index.html .  Check with legal counsel as for admissibility and to verify the guidelines found in the website above. 

3. Cellular Phone Recording Device. These are also available at Radio Shack for approximately $22.00 (called Wireless Phone Recording Controller) and are very similar to the above mentioned telephone recording device. It allows you to record your cell phone conversations. As discussed above, consult a lawyer first, as some states ban  recording phone calls without notifying the other party.

4. Tape Recorder. Be sure to get one that has a mic (microphone) outlet.  You need this function on yours to be able to use telephone and cell phone recording devices. There are also digital tape recorders on the market. Former partners have been known to record all  conversations, not only between themselves and you, but with their children, at visitation transitions and in conversations with people involved in the case.  Assume that your ex probably does too.

5. Camera that displays the date on prints. Photos with the date on them are very reliable evidence since you have proof of when the photo was taken. Wal-Mart has some that display the date starting at $60. Cannon makes a good model for $69 that has a zoom lens and date display. Capture those Kodak moments and also photos for evidence for your case.

6. Video Camera. Video recordings are almost always admissible in court and are much more reliable and compelling than audio tapes and other evidence. Consider making available some pleasant footage of you and your children to show in court. Video can also be used to capture incriminating evidence against your ex.  Consult your attorney first before interviewing the children on video, or recording an exchange, etc.  This can sometimes contaminate the evidence if done improperly, and if court personnel think you have coached the children, it can be used against you and do more harm than good.  

7. Mace, Pepper Spray, Panic Button, Code Words, etc. Consider having some small defense item like this on you at all times for your personal security. Check with your lawyer as some states have laws against carrying mace and other similar items.

8. Fax Machine (I recommend a Hewlett Packard 3 in 1 that has fax, printing and scanning functions). Most also have a copying function, which comes in handy. A good one costs $250 or more, but is a great investment in your case.

9. Your Children's Passports, Fingerprints, Recent Photographs and DNA samples. See http://www.codeamber.org/ and  http://www.pollyglaas.org/ or other sites to order fingerprinting and DNA kits. Some police stations will fingerprint your child for you. 

If your ex is a flight risk, take additional precautions.  http://www.travel.state.gov/family/family_1732.html or http://www.travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html provides information from the U.S. Department of State, Office of Children's Issues on how to obtain a passport for your children. You may also ask that your child's name be entered into the State Department's Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program. This will enable the Department to notify you or your attorney if an application for a U.S. passport for the child is received anywhere in the United States or at any U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. If you have a court order that either grants you sole custody, joint legal custody, or prohibits your child from traveling without your permission or the permission of the court, the Department may also refuse to issue a U.S. passport for your child.

There are also watches with GPS technology that ensure your child can be located within the US.

As an extreme measure, there is such a thing in existence as Veri-Chip, a tiny implanted chip so your child can be located anywhere if missing.  Obviously, this is not something to be considered lightly, and should only be considered in extremely high risk situations.  See http://www.verichipcorp.com/ for details and do not even consider this move without consulting an attorney. 

10. "Nanny cam" and other devices. These are pricey, but worth the money if you can use them. http://www.spysupplystore.com/  and http://www.spycameras.com/  have many to choose from.

 

Author:  Anonymous 2003/Edited by Custody Prep for Moms

Disclaimer:  Custody Prep For Moms does not endorse any of the above commercial products and services.  Always consult an attorney before making any investment in these types of items, and before using them.  Certainly not all of the above measures are necessary in every custody dispute.  Use your own best judgment in combination with that of legal counsel in determining what level of precautions are necessary. 


 

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