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  • Writer's pictureStephen Williams

Yes or No Questions are Harder than you Think in Child Custody

Do you know what time it is? Can you answer a yes or no question? It’s harder than you might think, especially when the answer, BY DESIGN, is not going to sound good and the fate of your family is on the line. In this video, we see a very smart character having a hard time (a) not sounding defensive, (b) not sounding like a smart____ and (c) just answering a question “yes” or “no.”

This is called cross-examination. The basics are that every question is a leading question, (i.e., a question that suggests its answer), there is one fact per question and, as mentioned, the answer to the question is either simply “yes” or “no.”

If you’re working with the right team in your #childcustody case, your lawyer is more than capable of giving you the opportunity to “explain” anything you didn’t get a chance to on cross-examination and provide the appropriate context for your answer.

Here’s an insider tip that we routinely review with our clients: there are 4 possible TRUE answers to a “yes or no” question: (1) yes, (2) no, (3) I don’t know or (4) I don’t understand the question. Nowhere among these options are you defending yourself or trying to explain yourself. And here’s the reality, you don’t have to and shouldn’t, not to the Other Side’s lawyer anyways. Have the discipline and patience to let that weird, one-word answer hang out there for a few minutes until you have your chance to work with YOUR lawyer to provide the explanations and context the Court needs to hear.


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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