[D]addy Got Custody, the final frontier. These are the voyages of good fathers. Their ongoing mission; to explore their children’s world; to seek out custody and new methods of winning; to boldly go where no man has gone before.
These words may remind you of Captain James T. Kirk or perhaps William Shatner. Today’s tip is about how you use your child’s name. Before we upgrade your thinking on this very important topic, I need you to take a moment and watch this trailer for the upcoming new Star Trek movie. Don’t worry I’ll wait.
Watch it one more time, besides I know you want to see that again. Pay very close attention to the words, I am going to make some references to them.
What is the True Worth of Your Child’s Name?
What is your child’s name? Here is a very important tip! Always USE YOUR CHILD’S NAME, and never reference your son or daughter as a PRONOUN. Not in court, not with a social worker, not with your attorney–NEVER. Next, if you have to lead with a pronoun for clarification, say “our” instead of “my”. This is harder than it sounds, but it is the talk of the custodial parent. Using their name, personalize the child-parent relationship so it is not a word on a page. Let me give you some right and wrong examples.
Opposing Attorney: “Where was ‘the child’ when he received those bruises?”
Your Wrong Answer: “The child was at his mother’s house when he got those bruises.” STRIKE ONE.
Correct Answer: “Bobby received the bruises in Mindy’s home.” GOOD ANSWER!
Opposing Attorney: “Which child was it that received the bruises, the boy or the girl?”
Your Wrong Answer: “The boy.” STRIKE TWO.
Correct Answer: “OUR son, Chris, not Melodie, received the bruises while in Mindy’s home.” GOOD ANSWER!
Opposing Attorney: “Why is it in the child’s best interest to be with their mom?”
Your Wrong Answer: “It is not in the child’s best interest to be with their mom.” STRIKE 3, YOU’RE OUT.
Correct Answer: “Well, let me give you the top 15 reasons why Chris should not be with Mindy…”
Practice Saying Your Child’s Name
Practice, practice, practice. Play the quarter game with your co-workers and friends. If you ever say “the child,” “my daughter,” or “the kids” pay them a quarter. It is so important that you start talking in this fashion about your children. You may never know the true worth of your words. Are you going to settle for a less than ordinary life, or do you feel like you were meant for something better? Something special. Your kids will always be children of two worlds. The question you face is… which path will you chose? Are you willing to practice and do the hard work to win custody of your kids? Then start right now by using their name all the time!
Buckle up. The wait is over. Value the true worth of your child’s name!
How well do you use your children’s names? Have you ever fallen into the attorney pronoun trap? What other suggestions help you in cross examination?
This is really very well done, kudos to you. Can be so easily flipped for advice to the wife which is good, sorta, in a way. What is all the fuss about? After the marriage desolves and you no longer own the wife you had to own the child? Is fighting for custody two dogs and a bone? WINNING! FIGHTING! Don’t be mad at me. Several points about your stuff is admirable and I can appreciate your dedication. I’m an old woman and none of the is relevant to my living. Joint? OK, made myself giggle… we’re good.
no problem. Yea all my advice works for either parent.
Great tip… Little things like this matter when talking in front of a judge or jury.
little things do matter. Actually, it is the little things that decide a case.
Wow. I guess my husband and I have some practicing to do…..Never quite thought of it this way…
it does take practice. It is a different way of thinking.
This is good advice, which I have given to clients before walking into Court. But as evidenced by your reference to the quarter game to practice this, good parents do this naturally. The reason judges, lawyers, and mental health professionals key on parents that refer to their kids as neutral objects is that it displays the feelings of that parent to the child in bold relief.
To the extent anyone is getting an unfair shake at the courthouse because of biases, I applaud whatever efforts you embrace to correct the system. But unfortunately we have far too many people wanting to “win” or just get a good swipe in that are not looking out for their child’s welfare. Advice on how to look like you care is not the same as encouraging parents to care. Although as I write this I come around full circle and must acknowledge that I have advised several well-meaning clients that they need to show they care as much as they actually do as it otherwise just doesn’t come out.
David, you are right on. However, my perspective in giving this advice is the parent genuinely does care but the entire court procedure unnerves the person so they lose out do to lack of practice.
I am a super parent but I constantly practice and remind myself to praise my kids, say “I love you” and pray for them. Practice makes perfect even among those who are the better parent truest to heart!
While I am not currently in a court battle, this tip is extremely useful. I had not thought much about how I reference my daughter but it seems like a good practice no matter the situation. There is a lot of power in a name and it gives a person a sense of importance. I tend to call my daughter “the child” as a point of humorous reference but I think that I will try and change that.
When I interviewed social workers in my research, they would tell me that they listen very closely to how parents refer to their children. The ones who are less involved, refer to their children by pronouns or “the child.” I am not saying that is the case all the time but an interesting tip I learned from those who do home studies. Just a thought. Thanks for the comment!