Honore: We met at nine
Mamita: We met at eight
Honore: I was on time
Mamita: No, you were late
Honore: Ah, yes, I remember it well. We dined with friends
Mamita: We dined alone
Honore: A tenor sang
Mamita: A baritone
Honore: Ah, yes, I remember it well!
(“I Remember It Well,” from the musical Gigi, 1958)
“He said, she said.” That’s what we call a dispute between two parties when the only evidence is one parties’ word against the other. When there are two sides of a story, the judge must determine which party to believe: Which party is more credible? Is there any other evidence which will corroborate a party’s story?
The best way for you to clearly remember events, dates, and times is to write them down. Keep a diary, log, journal or calendar! This is especially important when disputes arise over visitation, exchanges of children, and telephone contact. Take, for example, the following exchange–
Wife: He was fifteen minutes late bringing Junior back.
Husband: I was on time!
Wife: It has happened five times since March!
Husband: I was late only one time!
Wife: I keep a calendar, and I write down the time he returns Johnny every time. See here: he was at least fifteen minutes late on April 1, April 15, April 30, May 7, and May 28!
Who are you going to believe? Most likely, the person who has regularly documented the events.
Keeping a journal is also helpful to document specific conversations you have had with your spouse. What was offered, promised, or threatened? What was the context? Your notes will refresh your memory when it comes time to testify six months from now about the conversation you had last night.
Now, I have one caution about keeping a journal: you are not keeping score. Parents should learn to cooperate in the raising of their children, including visitation and communication during and after divorce. Mothers and fathers should learn to give and take. Be understanding when your spouse has unexpectedly been detained at work and cannot make the exchange on time. However, when the same party makes a habit out of being continually late, a journal and some documentation can help curb that habit.