Ask the judge to place the reasons for his ruling on the record
Family court judges come in many varieties. Some are short and sweet: “I’ve heard the evidence. I’m denying the motion. Custody will remain with the Plaintiff.” Others are more pensive and deliberative: They explain their reasoning and their rulings in detail. Others are cerebral and intellectual: They discuss their thinking about the issues on the record, mulling over the alternatives aloud, weighing the arguments of each party and reaching appropriate conclusions.
When a ruling is rendered in a custody case, the worst judge is the one who says very little. Parents involved in custody litigation have a right to know exactly what the judge is thinking and why specifically he or she has ruled one way or another. They have a right to know which factors influenced the outcome of the case.
If you’re a parent in a custody case, don’t be afraid to ask the judge to specify the reasons for his rulings. Ask him to state his reasons on the record. This will preserve the record on appeal. And, if the judge says he is denying your custody or parenting time or some other right for a specific reasons, you’ll know exactly why and what factors need to be addressed by you in the future.
When the judge specifically states the reasons for his rulings on the record, you will be able to remind him of the reasons for his prior ruling on your next occasion in court. This will give you extra credibility and may ultimately lead to victory in your custody case.