Laura Kanaan – October 2017
10 Tips for Preparing a Parenting Affidavit
Here are some helpful tips and tricks to make your parenting evidence as effective and persuasive as possible.
- Stick to the facts. Be as accurate as possible. Do not make assumptions. Do not guess. Do not exaggerate.
- Focus on the children, not the past! The past is only relevant if it relates to the well-being of the children.
- Explain who the children are and what they need. For example, the judge needs to know if your child has special or unique needs.
- Explain how you and the other parent have parented the children in the past. What role did you each play in the children’s lives? How did each of you meet the children’s needs?
- Spell out your proposed parenting plan in detail. Include the time you propose the children will spend with the other parent. Account for things like the children’s activities, special occasions, holidays and school/summer break.
- Explain what aspects of the other parent’s plan will not work for the children. Explain why those aspects of the plan are not in the children’s best interests.
- Use visual aids in your affidavit where appropriate. For example: if you are arguing your two homes are too far apart for a shared parenting arrangement, consider attaching a Google Maps printout. Other examples include photos, emails, text messages.
- Use specific examples of behaviour rather than sweeping generalizations. Avoid using the words “always” or “never”.
- Avoid using hearsay in your evidence, especially if you can provide the information directly from the source.
- Avoid excessively bashing the other parent. The judge will need some context, however, avoid the temptation to create a laundry list of things you do not like about the other parent. That is rarely helpful and once you file the affidavit, it cannot be taken back.
Please note these are intended to be general tips. They are not a substitute for legal advice. Each case will vary depending on the unique facts. I strongly recommend obtaining legal advice and assistance with preparation of court documents.