Many parents spend more time with their children than the current parenting plan on file with the court. These involved parents are grateful to have any opportunity to be with their children. However, time and time again, we’ve found that many of these parents aren’t keeping track of all the time they’ve invested in caring for their children.

Why should I be keeping track of this information?

Keeping a detailed, consistent record of the time you spend with your children can be an invaluable resource if you want to modify your parenting plan—including custody and visitation—or child support payments. A daily log of time spent with your children will help your lawyer prepare your case as well as add credibility when you tell the court that you’ve been involved in your kids’ lives. That’s because you will be able to show a judge exactly how much time you spend with your children as well as how you’ve spent that time together.

What kind of information should I be recording?

Keep a log of the time you’re with your children—including the time spent transporting your children to school, extracurricular activities, friends’ houses, and doctor appointments.

Be as specific as possible. Record dates, the amount of time you spend with your children, how you spend your time together, and any mileage you incurred during these activities. This includes everything from going on vacation and shopping for school supplies to taking your children to school or going to the doctor. You should also add any phone calls with your children, including the duration of each call and the things you talked about.

How should I track this information?

There are several convenient methods—such as spreadsheets or mobile apps—for tracking and recording the time you spend with children, so you may want to try a few methods before settling on what works best for you. If you write entries in a log or journal, be sure to backup your entries by creating and saving electronic copies to a computer or hard drive.