It never fails. One of the aggrieved parties to a divorce tells the dirty details to the child regarding the other parent. This is never appropriate or “ok.” Never. Never to a young child. What about when….? No. Never.
But that parent, with their righteous indignation tells me, or testifies, “I do NOT lie to my child?” My response? “Well, what about the Tooth Fairy?“
We lie to our children a lot. A LiveScience.com article stated it better, “Parents Lie to Children Surprisingly Often.” This article concluded that parent’s lie to protect their child and lie to preserve some semblance of innocence and childhood for their children. These are all good things.
The Tooth Fairy question gets that indignant parent every time. There is no good reason to spill the beans about the other parent’s misdeeds to the child. You should be telling them that “mommy” loves them very much. Not that she cares more about dancing on a pole with bikers than being a decent mom, even if it’s true. When the kids are older they will realize the truth and appreciate you all the more for allowing them to have a childhood and to love their other parent, even if the other parent did not deserve it.
It’s okay to lie to your children. Who says so? Me, a divorce attorney.
Disagree? Tell me why in comments or via email.
Matthew Thompson is a Child Custody Attorney in Mississippi and believes sometimes lying to your children is in their best interests.
If you or I answered questions in Court like the presidential candidates do at the recent town hall debate we would be running the risk of being held in Contempt!
In Court parties/witnesses must answer the question asked. It is preferred that the answer be “yes” or “no” and then an explanation offered if necessary. Obviously if it’s not a “yes or no question,” answer the question asked. This can be very difficult to do and takes practice to get this right. One of the things that can aid this is to practice or rehearse the actual questions with your attorney. By way of example, one of the candidates was asked does the Dept of Energy consider its role to work to reduce gas prices. The answer given was not “yes” or “no.” I am actually not sure what the answer was…and I listened to it.
If you find yourself in Court, not answering the question asked may result in the Court to conclude you are being deceptive. This is not an impression you want to create.
Another thing to be sure of is to answer only the question asked. Do not answer what is not asked and do not offer more than what is asked. The best example I can think of is when a party was asked if they had committed an affair with “Mary” since the separation. The answer was, “I have not committed an affair with ‘Mary’…since the separation.” There was an awkward pause. The awkward pause resulted in the follow up question of when did you commit your affair with Mary. The party told on himself by not just saying “No” which would have been a completely truthful answer to the question asked.
Answer Yes or No. Explain if necessary. Sometimes less is more.
One of the most daunting tasks in a legal situation is hiring an attorney. Its is not something you ever look forward to doing, regardless of the reason for why you need an attorney. But, there are several things you should do before contacting an attorney and several things you should do afterwards.
Ask your Family. It is likely someone in your family, or a close friend, has been through the need for an attorney and used one. This will help you determine who to use and just as importantly who NOT to use.
Ask your Preacher. Your preacher, pastor, rabbi, etc… may well know who can help you. Sometimes they are reluctant to get involved as it may pit one parishioner vs. another, however, in my experience they try to steer either one or both to someone equipped to help that particular person.
Ask Trusted Professionals. Your CPA, Banker, Counselor. They know who has a good reputation in the community and in some instances may have worked with the attorney.
Review the Web. Do they have a web presence? Review their site for content? Review for practice ares; Jack of all trades or limiting their practice?
Interview the Attorney:
The Initial Assessment (or consultation, as some attorneys call it) is as much you gathering information on the attorney as the attorney is getting information on, about and from you.
Ask about Experience; trial experience, experience in the area of law you seek, experience with the potential judges and counsel-opposite(s).
Explain. See if they can explain the process in English. I know some big words, but I also know when to use them.
Ask about Fees. Know what a “Retainer” is. (Unearned money which the attorney earns as they work on your case. Typically you are billed for every phone call, email, text, letter, appointment, interview and court appearance).
Trust your gut. Instinct matters. If you don’t click, don’t have that trust – move on. There are a lot of attorneys out there.
Be smart about it too. If the attorney can explain it, has the experience and is in your budget, don’t delay taking action, sometimes you have to make the best decision, on the best information available at the time. (Maybe your gut is wrong….)
Be Honest with them. Every dirty detail.
After the Hire:
Be clear on Expectations.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate. (Phone, text, email, as needed)
Follow their advice. That is why you hired them.
This is not a perfect list, but it is some food for thought when hiring an attorney.
Matthew Thompson is a family law attorney that gets hired more often than not. If you think you need an attorney you probably do.