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How to write a character reference for child custody

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When a father is trying to secure time with his child during a divorce, he needs support from everyone around him. One of the most crucial ways friends and family members can help is by submitting character reference letters describing his concern for the children and who he is as a person.

How to write a character reference letter for child custody may be unclear for many people. It is not as simple as saying the father is a good friend. You must include details that will convince the judge that the children’s lives are substantially improved by having their father in their lives. Well-written character references are an important part of Washington State Parenting Plans for child custody.

What is a character reference letter for child custody?

Family court judges make decisions impacting the lives of both parents and children for families they have never met. They must have as much information as possible to ensure the best interests of the children are put first. Character reference letters should discuss the depth of the relationship between the father and his children.

A character reference letter for the court in child custody cases allows those who know the father to speak about his ability to provide a loving, stable home and consistent parenting guidance. The main purpose is to provide an overview of the father’s actions across all aspects of his life that show he is a positive influence on his children.

Potential sources for a character reference for child custody Parenting Plans

The best choices for who should write a character reference for child custody on behalf of the father are those who have witnessed his interactions with his children firsthand. This may be the dad’s siblings, parents, friends, coworkers, and other parents. Teachers, therapists, and others who have discussions with both the father and children will also be strong resources.

A key factor is a person who has seen the father parenting his children and who has credibility as someone with good judgment. If the individual witnessed the father handling a parenting challenge, especially after the parents separated, this is a powerful story to include.

Another factor is to be honest and accurate. Do not write the letter just because you were asked. You should only include truthful information, and you should only write the letter if you genuinely believe the children will benefit from having their father as an active participant in their lives.

Preparing to write a character reference for child custody

Start a character reference in a child custody case by writing down your ideas first. Include a specific example of how the father demonstrated good parenting skills, but your letter should not only be a list of things he did well. It should describe his overall behavior towards the child before and after the divorce began.

Write about his positive traits as a person and include how those support his relationship with the children. Then, describe a situation where you saw him manage a challenging event to comfort or protect his children. Finally, restate your belief that the children’s lives will be much better with the father having as much time with the kids as possible.

Do not include anything that bashes the other parent. The focus is on the father and what he can do as a parent.

Writing a character reference for child custody – Examples

Examine your list of ideas for the letter and develop an overall description of the father’s relationship with his children. For example, you may feel that the relationship is loving, stable, and affectionate. The children seem happy to see him and enjoy activities more when he is present. Use a conversational tone to convey authenticity and conviction.

Include an opening paragraph introducing yourself, how you know the father, and for how long. Then, discuss how you have observed the father’s dedication to the children’s well-being daily, such as helping them get ready for school, taking them there, managing meals, and helping them with homework.

You can close with a final paragraph stating why you think the father is a good parent and how his children will thrive more if he is granted more visitation or custody. Keep your letter simple and fairly short. It does not need to be several pages. You are trying to give a clear picture, which will be added to other letters so the judge can get an overall understanding.

Examples you might include

  • “My name is Susan Harrison, and I know Jack Young as a fellow employee and personal friend. He coaches his children as part of our company’s little league baseball teams.”
  • “Jack frequently brings the children to practices and games. He is very supportive of all the players and other parents. When his children have been frustrated or upset during games, he has been patient and caring.”
  • “Overall, I believe that Jack is very close with his children, and they rely on him for emotional support and guidance. He is a loving and gentle parent who believes in putting his children and their needs first. I believe he should be granted custody/visitation.”

Learn more about child custody and other family issues

If you need more guidance about how to write a character reference for child custody on behalf of the father, contact Divorce Lawyers for Men. We offer free consultations for those going through any family law matter. You can reach us by calling (360) 866-7393 or through our online form today.

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