Photograph the extended family with the children, but avoid the posed pictures.
Many families embroiled in a child custody case like to supply their lawyers with photos of the children in the company of the extended family. Happy shots of the children and their grandparents, stepbrothers, and cousins may make a favorable impression, but they are not always admissible or relevant, and they are not always particularly informative about any of the issues in dispute.
Posed pictures around the holidays are great for framing, but they don’t necessarily tell a story. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then traditional posed family shots are generally worth only a few hundred words in Family Court.
On the other hand, candid shots of the children playing, eating, sleeping, or engaging with other family members – when they don’t necessarily know they’re being photographed – are much more useful in a custody proceeding. A non-custodial parent who captures his young children cavorting happily with their half-siblings during a weekend visit makes a good case for how well-blended his home environment is, and how easily the kids fit in. A mother who captures her daughters collaborating in the kitchen – for example, washing and drying dishes – paints a picture of how responsible the children are, how close they are to each other, and how “at home” they feel at her residence.
Candid, unposed pictures create compelling evidence, and when paired with an affidavit, certification, declaration or affirmation signed by a parent in a family court case, they can persuade a court to take action.
These days, with every cell phone doubling as a camera, there’s no excuse not to snap a shot when the most photographic moments arrive. Start building your album and share it with your attorney before you go to court.