Character Reference Letter for Court Child Custody

Life can be complicated, and sometimes, married couples divorce. If a divorcing couple has children (or a child), partners need to define the children’s (or child’s) custodian and place of residence. It is the courts that pass judgment on such matters.

When one of the parents wants to get custody of the child (or children), they should prepare a package of documents as requested by the court. One of the documents required for the judge’s consideration is a character reference letter for court child custody.

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When to Use a Character Reference Letter for Court Child Custody?

A character reference letter for court child custody is a legal document serving as the recommendation for a parent who wishes to become a guardian. The parent usually requests someone they know very well—could be a co-worker, friend, or family member—to write a character reference letter for court child custody for them to use in court during child custody hearings.

The reference letter writer (the referee) registers all the aspiring guardians’ positive moral and mental qualities in the letter, explaining why they deserve to be the legal custodian. It is essential to make the reference letter as emotional and personal as possible because judges need to have a solid motive to grant custody.

The referee must be someone who constantly sees that parent with the child. It would be perfect if that particular person sees the parent and the child spending quality time together and can verify their good relationships.

It is also advisable but not obligatory to have a psychiatrist monitor how the kid behaves around the parents and write their recommendation to the court about their findings. This would make the arguments in favor of any aspiring custodian more solid. A psychiatrist’s opinion means a lot to the court and allows it to decide based on the child’s best interests and needs.

Contents of a Character Reference Letter for Court Child Custody

Some essential elements of the character reference letter for court make it look correct and suitable for court. If you miss any of them, you risk having the letter rejected, which means the aspiring guardian loses the custody case.

The names of the writer (referee) and aspiring guardian. The letter should begin with the full names of the referee and the aspiring guardian as an introduction to the judges.

The relationship between the aspiring guardian and the writer. It is essential to register how the referee relates with the parent. The referee can be the aspiring guardian’s family member, co-worker, or friend.

The referee can also specify how long they have known the aspiring custodian.

The referee’s contact information. The writer should register their contact information for the court to contact them if needed. Contact information includes the phone number, physical address (state, city, street, zip code), email, and full legal name.

Moral or mental qualities of the aspiring guardian. Register as many positive details referring to the parent as possible. In the reference letter, the writer should include the parent’s moral and mental qualities. Such qualities can be responsibility, steadiness, tactfulness in the communication with children and other people, etc. Portray the parent as ready to become a guardian, having all the resources (financial, physical, and mental) and sobriety for this.

Signing date and signature. At the bottom of the reference letter, the writer must sign the reference letter and type the signing date just above the contact information. Without this, the letter is incomplete, and the court has all the rights to decline it.

These are the essential elements to include in a reference letter. While you can add some extra details, be careful not to violate any requirements established by the court. Be careful with the letter composition as it greatly impacts the children’s and their parents’ future.

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How to Write a Character Reference Letter for Court Child Custody

There are various letter of recommendation templates on the Internet, and you can use any of them as a reference point. But one thing that cannot change in any of these templates is the structure.

Adhere strictly to this structure if you want to have a correct letter in the end. The format is as follows:

1. Heading

The letter header should be “Child Custody Court Reference Letter” and nothing else. Highlight this phrase in bold, and place it at the top-middle of the page.

2. Salutation

You can combine the heading and the salutation in one paragraph. The salutation part includes the writer’s full name (on the first line) and complete physical address. Write the current date below that.

It is also possible to add a subject line in the salutation. This subject line can include Case Number and Guardian/Parent’s Name.

Next, greet the letter recipient, who is the judge in this case. You can greet them with the phrase “To The Honorable Judge.”

3. Introduction

In the Introduction, the referee should type their name, register their relations with the aspiring custodian, and how long they have known them. The referee does not need to reveal all the reasons why they think the parent should be granted custody, but they should leave a statement showing they believe they can. Convince the judges that they will make the right decision if they choose this exact parent over the other.

4. Main Body

This is where the referee gives as many details in favor of the parent as possible. The referee expresses their observations about the parent’s suitability for child custody. This is where the parent’s contributions to the local community (such as volunteer work) are mentioned. It is also important to highlight the parent’s personal qualities portraying them as perfect role models.

You can make a letter as long as possible; it is advisable to add at least two statements showing a parent from their best side. Do not be afraid of making the letter emotional and sincere to touch judges’ hearts.

If you have any questions and doubts about the letter’s length and contents, contact an Attorney of a parent or the aspiring custodian.

5. Conclusion

In the conclusion section, repeat the statement from the first paragraph that you believe the parent is the best-suited custodian. As a writer, you have to. Making the letter emotional will convince the judges to consider your statement seriously.

Sign off the letter with such phrases as “Signed,” “Sincerely,” or “Best Wishes.”

Adhere to this structure while writing a character reference letter for court child custody without mixing paragraphs. You can make the text in these paragraphs sincere and emotional, but always mind that you are delivering this letter to the court afterward. Judges of the court will examine it, so leave it emotional and avoid being cheeky.

What to Do and What Not to Do

Any appeal to the court is stressful—the message you want to pass to the judges must be accurate and truthful. For this, you need to know the basic rules to write a reference letter correctly and accurately.

You need to avoid certain things and include other in the letter. Below is a list of such.

What to include

  • Make a letter emotional and sincere. It will show the judges your clear intentions and portray the parent in good light.
  • Write as much as you can. Give as many details in favor of the parent as you can.
  • Register the truth and only the truth. All the facts covered in the letter can be easily checked upon the request of the court.
  • Show how you relate with the parent. Specify the duration you have known each other.
  • Express your belief that the parent is the most suitable guardian for their children. Provide facts to back this up.

What to avoid

  • False information; everything is verifiable.
  • Do not use swear words. This is still an official paper.
  • Anything that can confuse judges in ruling in favor of a parent.
  • Ignoring legal requirements established by the court regarding completing and delivering the letter.

If you follow these simple steps, there’ll be no issues. If it is hard for you to write a reference letter, pretend you are recommending yourself. What do you think it should look like? Would you want to add anything to or, on the contrary, skip?

Samples of a Character Reference Letter for Court Child Custody

Below are two child custody letter templates that you can use as a reference point. Each is suitable for two different situations: when you need to write a Character Reference Letter for Court Child Custody for a father (Sample 1) and a good mother (Sample 2).

Sample 1: For a Father

Court Reference Letter

_____________ (insert your full name)

_____________ (insert your street address)

_____________ (insert your state, city, zip code)

_____________ (type the signing date)

_____________ (insert the subject line)

To The Honorable Judge _____________ (insert the judge’s name)

It is an honor for me to recommend _____________ (type father’s name), who has been my friend for more than 20 years. He has also been a wonderful father for seven years now, and I cannot find a better father for his children. _____________ (insert father’s name) has always been kind to me, always there for me whenever I needed him. Thus, I firmly believe he would build a perfect family with his two beautiful daughters, who are crazy about him.

As a family friend and a close friend of _____________ (type father’s name), I know the strong, healthy bond with his daughters. I see how he sets an excellent example for them by working as a volunteer in a local hospital and working in a charitable foundation. He has always been their role model in terms of friendship, love, and life principles. _____________ (insert father’s name) would never miss any of the girls’ performances in a theatre and or school meetings. I am sure it will be better for the girls and _____________ (type father’s name) to become one loving family and live together as people genuinely caring for each other.

I hope you consider my statement seriously as children’s happiness is always the priority for me as a father of three kids. When I see the girls around _____________ (type father’s name), I see happiness in their eyes, and it is enough for me to decide they better stay with their dad.


_____________ (insert your signature)

_____________ (insert your printed name)

Sample 2: For a Good Mother

Court Reference Letter

_____________ (insert your full name)

_____________ (insert your street address)

_____________ (insert your state, city, zip code)

_____________ (type the signing date)

_____________ (insert the subject line)

To The Honorable Judge _____________ (insert the judge’s name)

I feel honored to be trusted to write a recommendation for _____________ (type mother’s name), who has been not only my co-worker but also a good friend. We’ve been working together for three years now, and during this period, there was not a day she didn’t tell me about her beautiful son. I know for sure that she is a brilliant mother to him and a responsible worker for our company. It is a great pleasure for me to know her as indeed a unique person, friend, and mother. She always supports me when I need help and checks on me to ensure I’m fine when I fall sick.

_____________ (insert mother’s name) always tells me about her son, his achievements in school, in sports, and in creativity. Whenever he falls sick, she takes the day off (or more than one day) to spend time with him, making sure he feels better. When he was admitted to a hospital, ___________ (type mother’s name) was there with him all the time and would work remotely because she didn’t want to fail all of us. But her child is the main priority for her, and everything she does, she does it for him. Thus, I believe she will be the perfect guardian for her son, as I’ve never seen such a healthy bond between a mother and her child.

I ask you to accept my statement in all seriousness. I, as a mother, know what a mother can feel when there’s a possibility of losing the right to be a legal guardian for her only child. I know _____________ (type mother’s name) is the perfect custodian as no one loves her son the way she does.

Best Wishes,

_____________ (insert your signature)

_____________ (insert your printed name)


Writing child custody reference letters can be tricky, but it is easier with the assistance of our detailed guidelines. Follow them and use the templates above as references. Remember, the primary goal is to evoke feelings in the judges’ hearts, making them choose your side over another. Make your reference letter as emotional and long as possible, but make the judge decide in your favor and no one else’s. Remember: the child’s future is in your hands, and a parent trusts you with this. Do not fail them.

Published: May 15, 2022