• Stephen Williams

Dads in Child Custody Cases, Do You Know the Answers to these 5 Simple Questions…?

Updated: Oct 7


Mothers are better at this (or at least Judges expect them to be), but that means it’s a perfect chance for Fathers to score extra credit by knowing the short, simple answers to these short simple questions. And, the Other Side’s lawyer is going to ask you on the witness stand or at a deposition to try to catch you with these ‘curveballs’ so be ready. Wanna sound like you know wtf is going on with your kids? We call it #ChildCustody trivia, and it sets the tone for the entire case because it frames the kinda person you are, kinda like being a person that flosses every night. Speaking of, you should also floss every night. Let’s get started…

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1. “What is your Child’s birthday?”


You know this one? How fast were you? Could you rattle it off like it was tattoo’d on the back of your eyeballs? Think no one ever sits up there on the witness stand like a deer in headlights when the Other Side’s lawyer asks this question? Think again. Seen it too many times.


Extra Credit: Know what day of the week it was that year and have a “birth story” ready to roll. See https://www.dayoftheweek.org/ to figure out the day of the week. ( Notice a theme here? Know the stuff the Mother would know. )

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2. “What’s your kid’s teacher’s name?”


Education is the silver bullet. How engaged can you be in your kid’s education if you don’t even know the teacher’s name?


Extra Credit: Know the last time you spoke with your kid’s teacher or teachers. Have a plan for the next meeting, e.g., “I don’t know when I’ll meet with Mr. / Ms. Jones again but I have calendared a reminder to follow up with them at the beginning of next month / after report cards come out / a few weeks before exams start”.

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3. “What’s your kid’s doctor’s name?”


Kinda like education. Healthcare is the foundation. Education is the elevator.


Extra Credit: also kinda like education. Know when the last appointment was. Know when the NEXT appointment is.

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4. “Where do you work?”


It drives us and JUDGES crazy when this is not a simple, straightforward and confident answer. We know a lot of you guys are self-employed; we know a lot of you are independent contractors. Mamas out there, we know you sit with older folks for cash under the table. BUT, let’s come up with a good, straightforward answer to this. “I’m an independent contractor in the roofing business.” “I’m a home health caregiver for my aunt Ruby; Ruby’s daughter pays me $10.00 / hour.” Whatever it is.


Extra Credit: Have a real, live W2 employer with a direct deposit check stub with withholdings and all the grown-up stuff. The Judge is never gonna believe you’re disclosing all of your 1099 or cash income. We’re not gonna believe you’re disclosing all of your 1099 or cash income.

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5. “What’s your problem with that?”


You’ve identified some issues in your Child Custody case, no doubt. If we had a nickel for hearing about every time the Other Side smokes pot or bought liquor or was late to or missed a visit without our witness being able to clearly explain what it was that actually creates a problem. There’s a difference between not liking something and being able to explain how it adversely affects things. Think effects, not cause… facts, not opinions.


Extra Credit: Start your answer with, “It’s not really my problem, but here’s how it affects the kids / might affect the kids…” (as long as you’re being truthful, of course). Frame your issues from the kids’ perspective, or at least from the perspective of their best interests.

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The moral of the story is have your shit together. Everyone wants to do some high-wire act in their Child Custody case without taking care of the little things. Around our office here at Foxtrot, we call it #cwcw, for “Chop Wood; Carry Water.” The Judge doesn’t want to get in the weeds; it makes their job harder. The Judge just needs to know you get up every day, take care of business and know what’s going on with your kids.


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If you would like to learn more about how you, as a Committed Parent or Caring Relative, can stand up for yourself and be more effective in your Child Custody, Divorce or Adoption case, please click “book appointment online” on the menu or top right of your screen to schedule your initial consultation at one of our offices.

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This article contains general information and should not be construed as legal advice for you and or your unique situation. ~SW, Foxtrot