How to Write a Reference Letter for Child Custody
By Michael Cohen
If someone you know is involved in a child custody dispute, it's possible you could be asked to write a reference letter to be presented to the court. Reference letters are an important means by which the court gathers objective, narrative information about the relationship of each parent or guardian to the child or children. Writing a reference letter to the court is as easy as providing a detailed, accurate account of your observations.
Write a short introduction describing your relationship to the parent or person seeking custody. You should specifically mention in which capacity you know the parent and for how long.
Complete the introductory paragraph by giving an overview of the parent or guardian's relationship to the child. Write superlatives and general observations which give context to the specific information you will provide in the second paragraph.
Read More: How to Write a Character Reference for Child Custody
Write the second paragraph of the letter, which should substantiate the general claims you made in the first paragraph. This section of the letter should delve into specific examples of the relationship between the parent or guardian and the child. Give accounts of events or actions you personally have seen, and that specifically point to the parent's ability and motivation to care for the child.
Write a brief closing section summarizing why you believe that the parent or guardian should be awarded custody. Make sure to sign your name to the letter, as well as provide all relevant contact information, in case the court reaches out to you for verification or clarification.
- Do not exaggerate your claims. Be realistic in your descriptions and make your goal to write a truthful account of the parent's relationship to the child.
- Avoid "mud-slinging" or otherwise badmouthing any other party who is currently seeking custody of the child.
Michael Cohen has been a technical writer since 2006. His areas of expertise include classical music and nonprofit management, and his work has been featured across a variety of media platforms. Cohen received his bachelor's degree from The New School in New York City.