The day is rapidly approaching. The child custody hearing is just around the corner. For any Illinois parent to whom this sounds familiar, taking the time to make sure he or she has certain documentation collected and ready to go could help ease the nerves and stress as the day approaches.

If an Illinois parent has records regarding the child’s school performance, medical needs and other activities prior to and during the divorce, they could provide evidence of how the child does with each parent. For instance, if the child tends to have more accidents requiring medical care when with the other parent, it could allude to abuse or neglect. If the child’s grades are good when living with one parent versus the other, that too, could help illustrate how the best interests of the child are met.

Other documentation such as visitation and phone logs can provide evidence of each parent’s involvement in the child’s life. Factors such as whether a parent arrives on time to pick up or drop off the children, whether he or she keeps in contact with the child even when in the custody of the other parent and other issues surrounding the amount of time each parent spends with the child can help in proving one party’s requests regarding custody. This information can help the court decide custody and visitation issues.

Any other relevant evidence should also be collected in preparation for the hearing. It is up to the party making a particular custody request to provide the court with compelling evidence to support his or her position, which makes it vitally important to arrive prepared at the hearing. In addition, even if the parents are able to come to a child custody agreement outside the courtroom, the court will still want to make sure that its provisions serve the best interests of the child. For this reason, the above documentation could still be needed even when the parties agree to a parenting plan.