Get to know your babysitters and keep them happy
How well do you know your babysitter? If you hire non-family members to watch your children when you’re not available, be sure to interview them in detail. Once you’re confident that your babysitter is competent and safe for your children, think about ways to improve your relationship with the sitter.
For example, do you know your babysitter’s birthday? Find out, and be sure to give her or him a birthday card or some other token of your appreciation. Invite the sitter to the child’s birthday party. Remember her/him during the holidays. Ask their advice about certain child-related issues they may have observed; engage them in the process.
When a babysitter quits or moves on, be sure to part ways as amicably as possible. Make sure there are no outstanding payments due. Even if you have to terminate a babysitter, do so gracefully and without accusation. An angry ex-babysitter can turn into an eager witness against you in a future custody proceeding.
The more you befriend the babysitter, and engage her/him in your family activities, the more likely the babysitter will testify for you in a child custody proceeding. Perhaps more importantly, winning over the babysitter may prevent him/her from ever testifying for the other side. When a babysitter testifies for the other parent, it can have a devastating effect on your case and can seriously erode your credibility in a courtroom.
So, while bribing the babysitter may not be necessary (or legal), keeping the sitter happy is smart litigation planning.