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  • Writer's pictureStephen Williams

Child Custody is Not About Communication

Ironically, many people pay mere lip service to communication, talking about how important it is without really understanding what it means. We’d like to discuss several issues involved in communicating effectively, both in life, generally, and with Stakeholders in your Child Custody universe, e.g., your partner, the Other Side, your lawyer, your pastor, etc…

But first, as we like to think of things at a granular level, we start with what the word means. Merriam-Webster’s first of many definitions is “a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior.” The other definitions are worth reviewing, but we like this first one for one key phrase, “the exchange of information.” We can even dial it in more and focus on the key term, “exchange.”

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To better understand this “exchange,” think of it like a very simple contract or transaction, e.g., buying a gallon of milk at Publix. Your money is your information. Publix’ milk is theirs. To “communicate” effectively, you offer your money and Publix accepts it. They offer their milk and you accept it. Both sides are communicating and completing an exchange.

However, as anyone reading this would know, there’s a lot more cooperation between us and Publix than between us and the Other Side in our Child Custody case, but that’s okay. The important thing, applying our analogy to Child Custody, would be that we (a) went to Publix, (b) got our milk and (c) left the money on the counter as we walked out having completed everything that we are supposed to do. Id est, we don’t care, or at least it doesn’t change anything for us, whether Publix picks up the money off the counter and puts it in the till. That’s literally their problem, but you participated in good faith in your side of the exchange. Not only is that all you have to do; it’s literally all you can do.

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What it comes down to in Child Custody is that you don’t have control over how well you communicate. Our clients at Foxtrot Family Law run their own race, and they have complete control over what they do each day to move closer to their goals. They understand what falls within their locus of control and what doesn’t. To invest time, energy and resources in anything else is to absolutely waste it. The Other Side has to willingly participate in order to communicate effectively. Child Custody then, is not about “communicating,” but the making reasonable, good faith efforts to communicate but doing what you’ve got to do for yourself, your children and your family regardless of if or how the message is received.


This article contains general information and should not be construed as legal advice for you and or your unique situation. If you would like to speak more about how you, as a Committed Parent or Caring Relative, can be more effective in your Child Custody case, please visit to schedule your initial consultation at one of our offices. ~SW, Foxtrot

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