Navigating Custody Battles
When you hear the term ‘Custody Battle,’ you have a certain image in your mind. Courtroom fights, crying kids, the worst stereotypes we learn from movies and television. But what happens when you find yourself in a fight for the custody of your kids for real? This week on the show, we welcome Reneé Rodriguez, custody coach and founder of Best Foot Forward, a company with a singular mission: helping parents navigate family court in contentious custody situations.
We talk about perspective – look at what you’re bringing to your lawyer. Are they gripes? Or are they real issues? There’s a difference between the real world and the legal world, and it’s important to know the difference. The goal, of course, is to help you as the parent figure out what’s actually in your best interest. That doesn’t necessarily line up with what you think is in your best interest. The faster you’re able to connect with that, the easier your custody battle will be.
The key in all custody cases is, of course, the kids. How do you protect your kids so they are damaged as little as possible in the process? This is particularly true when trying to get away from a spouse who is a narcissist or abusive.
And the real struggle here is that you have to acknowledge that court-ordered parenting classes rarely make a change in a parent. Courts can’t order parents change to be better parents. But judges are real people. They’re working to help the child end up in the best situation they can.
There’s a lot to discuss about this topic. Tune in!
I help parents in a custody battle against a narcissistic co-parent to go into family court and get the custody arrangement that’s best for their kids. These women and men have suffered psychological abuse at the hands of their former partners and are working to ensure their children are protected from further cruelty. My company, Best Foot Forward, was founded in early 2018, born out of the encouragement of others to focus on what I had become highly skilled at–navigating family court with my particular strategy and set of templates and sharing all of this with others.
With a long and winding, combined career path of being a teacher, administrator, entrepreneur, strategist, coach and instructional designer, I have spent a lot of time successfully learning to zero in on how to transform situations into a new reality that brings peace to people’s lives and helps them achieve what they are setting out to do.
As a daughter of a Puerto Rican father whose family sought a better life on the mainland when he was 12 and a mother who only later pursued her GED, education and hard work was impressed upon me. I was the first to graduate from college, the perfect Catholic student, who later in life ended up having a child with a cruel, covert narcissist (diagnosed). My turning point was during my custody battle for my son, after leaving a relationship rife with mental abuse. I had been an acting coach for a couple decades, and switched my career to help other women succeed in dealing with their narcissistic nightmares.
After my case was closed in my favor–thanks to the invaluable support of Tina Swithin!–I formed the blueprint for preparing for court through Strategy, Mindset and Evidence and using truth and virtue even in the face of lies and manipulation. I find that parents are dependent on their lawyers to save them, and they have no real sense of how best to present their evidence in court. The shame, the guilt, the helplessness…we address that through my Custody Warriors program.
I live in the New York City area with my boisterous 9-year-old son and two mischievous cats.
Links & Notes
- National Domestic Violence Hotline
- Best Foot Forward LLC
- Best Foot Forward’s Custody Templates
- Reneé on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube
- Schedule a consult with Seth
- Got a question you want to ask on the show? Click here!
Pete Wright: Welcome to How to Split a Toaster, a divorce podcast about saving your relationships, from TruStory FM. Today, let's arm your toaster for battle. Seth Nelson: Welcome to the show, everyone. I'm Seth Nelson and as always, I'm here, with my good friend, Pete Wright. When you hear the term, quote, "custody battle," close quote, you have a certain image in your mind, courtroom fights, crying kids. The worst stereotypes we learn from the movies and television. But what happens, when you find yourself in a fight for the custody of your own kids for real? This week on the show, we welcome Renee Rodriguez, Custody Coach and Founder of Best Foot Forward, a company with the singular mission, helping parents navigate family court in contentious custody situations. Renee, welcome to the Toaster. Reneé Rodriguez: Thank you. I'm glad to be here. Pete Wright: We're, uh, really glad to have you here, uh, to share with us, sort of, your perspective on how you navigate these rough waters of custody. Specifically, around these custody battles. We talk a lot about the court experience. We talk a lot about, uh, you know, going to court and what it means to have contentious litigation, but sp- specifically around custody. Why don't you just start us off with a little bit of perspective setting. What does a custody battle look like, by the time it gets to you? Can you describe it? Reneé Rodriguez: Sure, yeah. Well, when people, by the time people come to me, many of them are actually going for their, their second round of a custody battle, right? They figured something out the first round, and they're coming back because it turns out, it didn't work out, right? And then, we have the clients who come to us because, you know, they're going through a separation and they're not getting along well. The majority of our clients are actually suffering from domestic violence, right? We know that around 90% to 95% of people who separate are, they're gonna figure it out. They're gonna get a lawyer. They're gonna sit and mediate. They're gonna figure it out between the two of them. But the remaining 5%, those are the people who end up in court, and that's where things tend to get ugly. So, by the time people come to me, they're fighting for their children and their children are caught in the middle. And it's getting really ugly. Seth Nelson: And so, when you say that they're gonna end up in court, that, when I hear that, I hear they're going to a trial, and a judge is gonna make the decision on when those children see what parent and when, or what holidays, and when. Is that the same meaning that you're putting on, going to court? Reneé Rodriguez: Usually, actually when you go to court, there's, um, you get stuck in a long process, right? So, trial is something that the judges want to avoid, that the lawyers usually want to avoid. Everyone wants to avoid it because it's expensive. Seth Nelson: Amen, sister, on that one. I agree. Pete Wright: (laughing) Yeah, right, right. Reneé Rodriguez: It's, it's so much money, right. You're already spending a lot of money to have this battle, this legal battle. But when you start out, depending on your jurisdiction, where you're located, they really like to try to send you to mediation. They like to send you to somebody who is gonna sit you down and say, "Maybe we can figure this out with the help of a third person." Seth Nelson: Yeah. In, in Hillsborough County, in Florida, it is required. Before you go into trial, you're going to mediation. So, I always tell people, this isn't Monopoly, right? You don't go and just don't pass go, don't collect $200, go straight to jail. There's a long way to get straight to jail, so to speak. In, in jail, I call going to trial 'cause you're gonna be trapped in the courtroom with someone else making the decisions for you, okay? Reneé Rodriguez: Yeah. Seth Nelson: But, I, I'm with you. So, so you're talking about just how is this battle gonna, to go down, and do we really have to have a battle? Reneé Rodriguez: Yeah. The goal is to try to not have it be a battle. But really what it looks like for my clients is that the lawyers are sending letters to each other saying, "Tell your client not to do this. Can we try this with your client? Does your client want that? My client wants this." So, you've got the lawyers sending letters back and forth, and that can be effective for some things, right? The clients are going to the mediation, and there are gonna be court appearances, there are gonna be hearings. And, um, as you know, these things are, (laughs) they're fast. A lot happens pretty quickly. Um, I have clients who are shellshocked that a visitation schedule has been set in just 10 minutes, right. So, uh, it's great- Seth Nelson: What took so long? 10 minutes, we get that much time? Reneé Rodriguez: (laughing) It's amazing. It's like, the, you know, you go into court and you're kinda like, "Okay. We're gonna talk about this," but you end up talking about something completely different. Decisions are made, and so you get these temporary, uh, parenting schedules, right? But temporary, very often, is what ends up becoming permanent, we find. Pete Wright: You guys, uh, have both just said something that I think is, is important that we, that we latch onto a little bit before we move on. Which is, that you are surprised at the things that are important to the court versus, what is important to you, as a parent going into this process. Can you define just sort of, what does the bucket look like, if things that are important to the court, to move you in and out of the process versus, the things that, that as a parent listening to this, you, you might be really concerned that the court is? Like, what are the misconceptions of what's important to which party? Seth Nelson: Pete, we only have an hour, max. Pete Wright: (laughing) Yeah. I can't even get the question out that fast, Seth. Seth Nelson: I mean, a- Andy's, you know, at 40 minutes, Andy starts giving me, the stop talking, uh, sign. Pete Wright: Yeah, he's cutting us off. Seth Nelson: So, Renee, I'll let you, uh, fill that one first. And I'll chime in. Reneé Rodriguez: You know, so I, I use certain terms to kinda help my clients figure out what that difference is. And I kinda say, "Look, we're gonna, all of this stuff that you're talking about is valid." It's causing heartache, it's causing pain, it, it's problematic. But we're gonna look at it as, here's what the court's gonna see, as gripes. And here's what the court's gonna see, as real issues. And that's sort of, the way I word it with my clients. Just say, "Okay, you're coming in and you're saying that he, you know, won't let you keep the car. He won't let you use the car for the kids." Because he says, it's his. You say, it's yours. That type of thing. This is gonna sound a little gripey when it comes down to the things they really wanna look at, which is the parenting schedule and some of the bigger, uh, decisions that need to be made. The stuff that's gonna fall under what a lot of jurisdictions call, legal custody, right? And that's gonna be, you know, it's time for them to go to school, and we're fighting over which school to go to. I want the private school, but he's refusing to pay tuition. Um, I want the public school and she's refusing to comply. Um, that type of stuff, it's timely and it's huge. So, it's gotta happen, right? So, you can't be focusing on their, you know, the child support check is coming late, or this is happening, or a child is saying this. All of this stuff that your children, all of that stuff is gonna be something that's gonna be in front of, um, a guardian ad litem, or whoever your child's representative is, or the evaluator, right? But all those little things, you wanna put together for somebody else, for the judge. When you're in there for 10, 20 minutes, if that, as you were saying, Seth, it's honestly gonna be the big stuff. Seth Nelson: So, the key here, Pete, to understand is, every jurisdiction does it differently. So, it's not uncommon. If I have a temporary relief hearing, which is, I'm going to the judge and say, "This is what I want the parenting plan to be from today, until we finally get this couple divorced." And that's when the permanent parenting plan will be in place. I'm lucky, if I get an, I'm gonna have an hour to do that. Now, out of my hour, it's set from 4:00 to 5:00, I get a half hour of time, and opposing counsel gets a half hour of time. So now, I'm down to 30 minutes. And then, there might be some procedural arguments, or some, some, you know, the court might ask us some questions, where we're on this case before we get started. So, let's just say that stuff takes 10 minutes. Now, we're down to 50 minutes. So, I don't get my 30. I'm down to 25, okay. And I have 20 factors, A through T, that I have to talk about in 25 minutes. And it's not that I get to just say, "Judge, here they are." I have to put on a witness, I have to ask questions and answers about all of these factors. And I have to explain to the court, what I want the parenting plan to be. So, that's one witness, and it's usually my client, who obviously is biased, as all clients are to themselves. And that's assuming, I don't put on the other party. So, just think of the amount of information that I have to get into the court through the question, answer, through objections of the other side, it's a lot. Now, what you need to do is decide on what's the most important factors. And in that first 5 to 10 minutes, where we're doing the intros, I'm telling the court, "Judge, we are not gonna discuss these factors. We're only gonna discuss these factors 'cause it's temporary. We think these are the most important ones." So, I'm gonna limit it, and I'm gonna get in and get out, as quick, as I can. Now, here's the other problem. If I'm doing temporary relief on a parenting plan, maybe we're having financial issues. So now, I gotta talk about, who keeps the house, how much alimony should be, and what's child support. So, I've just added these other huge issues, and I still only have my 25 minutes, so choose wisely. And I think what Renee's point is well taken and, and I, I love the gripe versus, real issues that you say, Renee. I say it a little different. I say, there's the real world, then there's the legal world. And they don't match and they don't overlap. So, I gotta talk about stuff that's not real world, but legal world that's gonna have an impact on the judge to make the decision we're gonna make, and it's gonna go fast. Pete Wright: That gets to exactly the question, right, which is, as, uh, as, uh, a parent, a nonlegal actor in this legal process, uh, uh, how do you coach me to get over the fact that the things I think are most important are not most important, and may not be in my best interesting? Reneé Rodriguez: Yeah. So, what we do is, when people come in and work with us, we have them do, uh, what we call The Custody Blueprint. And with that, they're going in and they're filling out a lot of stuff. And putting it down on paper, they're forced to kinda look at what they're complaints and issues and concerns are. One of the sheets that we use that works really well, is something that's called, um, your concern is about him. And then, we talk about his concerns about you, or vice versa. Um, we do mostly work with women, right now, because our focus is on domestic violence. And statistically, um, it's mostly, not always, but mostly women who suffer from domestic violence. So, that's why I'm using that terminology. Now, so we've got a client who fills out something. We've got all the different things we know are gonna come up, right? It's gonna be neglect, and abuse. These are the possible things that are pretty much always gonna show up somewhere. And then, we have an other category. They're gonna go in and they're gonna say, "These are our issues, but here's the proof I have for it." And that's a requirement. Once we have all of that, we look at it and we say, okay. Knowing what we know about the court and we've got a lawyer on our team, so knowing everything that we're looking at here, these six things are the things that are most compelling for what you've got, right? Now, your job is to partner very strongly with your lawyer to, between the two of you, choose. But I wouldn't waste your time bringing the rest of these things that you think are so important here, unless you can show me something that's gonna be more compelling, that we know that the court's gonna find relevant. Pete Wright: I could just imagine myself like, screaming, "But this is what's right. This is what I think is right." Reneé Rodriguez: Yeah, yeah. Seth Nelson: Yeah. Or even better, this is what's fair. Pete Wright: Ah, yeah. Better. Seth Nelson: And I say- Reneé Rodriguez: Oh. Seth Nelson: ... "Fair is where you get cotton candy." Like, we're not doing that here. Reneé Rodriguez: Ah, yeah. Seth Nelson: Okay. Just, uh- Reneé Rodriguez: Ah, yeah. That, uh, yeah, that. Pete Wright: I think you just got Renee to groan (laughing). Reneé Rodriguez: Mm-hmm. I hate the, it's not fair stuff. It's, I'll tell you what it is. I'll be honest with you. What I hear a lot is, um, what's fair to mom and dad? And my question is, what's fair to the kids? Pete Wright: Yeah. Reneé Rodriguez: That's what we're looking at here. Pete Wright: Sure. Seth Nelson: Well- Reneé Rodriguez: What's fair to the kids? Seth Nelson: And to pick up, Pete, and I, I love it when we have people like Renee on the show, 'cause we basically, I get to hear how other people do this, whether they're in the law or helping people going through the process. In so much of what I think quality work is going on out there, is when I hear other people doing it. And then, sometimes my ear picks up and I say something a little different. And I like that contrast. So, I do what Renee does, when it comes to, what she called the blueprint. We give our clients the statute that says all the different things, the outline, the blueprint of what the court's gonna look at. And, and I tell them, "I want bullet points, I don't want paragraphs," because that makes people be condensed and not be stream of conscious. I, it's by design. And I say, on every factor, I want to know whether it's applicable or not. Because sometimes, it's just not applicable. Like, do you have a child's preference, let's say. And the kid's four years old. That's not gonna be relevant, okay. But let's say, on each of the parenting ones, the one that focuses on the parent's behavior and how it relates to the children, tell me the things that you do well. Tell me the things that you don't do well. Tell me the things that your spouse does well, and what your spouse doesn't do well. Some of it might be, oh, we're about the same. Some of it, you'll, and, and which ones are like, more important. So, I have them kind of like, just do a check mark or a star. I don't have them rank them, right? But that forces them to evaluate their own behavior and the others. And then at the end, I say, "What are the worse things you think your spouse will say about your parenting?" 'Cause they've heard it all before in the fights. It's not like, it's new information, right? We've had some, where there's like, character assassination that comes up later, when people are just crazy. So, we do that which is very similar to what Renee is doing. Now, Renee said something one of my ears picked up here. Renee says, "I want the proof." Now, being a lawyer, I tell my clients, "You don't have proof and you don't have evidence. You have information." So, I want the information that supports what you're telling me. Then, I have to get that information into court, so in the courtroom, it will prove what we want it to prove so the outcome is what we want. But I use those terms differently because I have clients that say, "I've got proof because his best friend told me." Well, that's hearsay. That's not coming in court, right? Reneé Rodriguez: Right. Seth Nelson: So, I use that differently, but it's the same concept. Show me what you got. Reneé Rodriguez: Yeah. It comes down to that, it's the documentation. And a lot of times, what I have to keep repeating is, "Look, you gotta document everything." When, especially when you got domestic violence going on here. But here's the thing, you've got this big old stack of stuff. You can't just come in and dump that down on front of the judge. You're gonna use about maybe, 5% of everything that you got there. So, you're really just looking for the pieces that are relevant and compelling. Um, but we usually say, "Get that documentation in order." Seth Nelson: Yeah. And Pete, by 5%, remember we've had discussions about apps that, where parents communicate, and the court's allowed to look at it. And someone will submit two, three, four, five, six months, if not longer, of communications back and forth. And the judge will say, the other side goes to put it in, and they'll say to me, "Mr. Nelson, any objection?" I'll be like, "Judge, it's," you all say, voluminous. Like, it's the same thing over and over. And the judge will look at the other side and says, "I agree." 'Cause if you put it in, I'm gonna read all of it. So, give me your five best of what you really want me to see, but I'm not gonna read six months of communication between parents. Reneé Rodriguez: Right, right. Pete Wright: But, uh, but again, as a parent, I can see how I would be incented. Like, Seth, you, you brought up, you know, I want bullets. So, I can see all kinds of ways I would take your bullets, and I would raise you 300 word answers for each bullet. Like, I can see how emotion would drive me to work counter to myself in the context of the law. Reneé Rodriguez: But I think it really does come to finding those particular, even I, 'cause it is six months, 12 months. Pete Wright: Yeah. Reneé Rodriguez: Who knows how long? And you look at these things, and people can get so acrimonious. But when you've got something that actually has it laid out, what the problem is, that's a good piece of documentation, right there, right? Like, one email is all you need to show something, and then, you can say, "I've got plenty more where this comes from. But this, this is what I want you to look at," right? Seth Nelson: Right. And part of that, Pete, where you're saying the emotion takes over and you wanna show me everything, it comes from people's natural feeling that, if I just tell me story, they're gonna understand it and agree with me. Reneé Rodriguez: Yeah. Pete Wright: Yeah. Seth Nelson: And they don't. Pete Wright: Yeah. Reneé Rodriguez: Yeah. Seth Nelson: And they're shocked when the judge doesn't do it. And that's why, and we've talked about this before, when you're preparing for court, you listen to the question. You think about it. If you understand it, you answer it honestly in the least number of words, as possible. And then, you stop talking. Reneé Rodriguez: Yes. Seth Nelson: And I put you on the stand, Pete, and you were so nervous. I was, you were like, "Oh, my god, right." And we were talking about your name. Answers to questions, you know. Yeah, right. Pete Wright: Yeah. I, I did, I got that wrong. Yeah, yeah. Seth Nelson: So, on that whole point, and I'm telling people that when you get emotional it detracts from your ability to have your story told. Now, there's portions for emotion, right. And there's ways to bring out evidence that makes it believable. So, boiling it down is so important. Pete, we need to talk about the holidays and divorce. It's a stressful time for families, especially when alcohol is involved, and our friends at Soberlink want to help. Pete Wright: Yeah, they do. Soberlink has teamed up with us here, at the, at the Toaster, and other divorce and family law experts, to provide information that you didn't know that could help provide peace of mind during the holidays. Seth, tell the people about Soberlink. Seth Nelson: It is the solution for you, if you're going through a divorce and a custody case involving alcohol. Why is it the solution? It is because, if you're falsely accused of alcohol use, or if you're the concerned parent about your kid's safety when they're with the other parent, Soberlink is here to help. And the way they do that is they offer a remote alcohol monitoring system that is the gold standard because of its technology. Where literally, the parent who is trying to say, "I'm sober. I'm clean. I'm focused on the kids," they will blow into the device. It has facial recognition. And it will give real time information to the concerned parent, so they know you're sober, you're focused on the kids. They're safe, go enjoy the holidays. Pete Wright: Absolutely. And you can get Soberlink's free guide for the upcoming holiday season. You just have to request it by visiting www.soberlink.com/toaster. That's www.soberlink.com/toaster. We thank Soberlink, the entire Soberlink team for sponsoring How to Split a Toaster. I wanna transition because I feel like that is, uh, a great segue into a part that gets it emotional, which is the kids, right? Renee brought up the kids. And, uh, I'm interested in, you know, we're in this high conflict, this contentious y- uh, potentially, domestic abuse situation. What are the steps you go through to protect the kids during a custody battle? It seems like, those are the, the, the kids are the ones who are at greatest risk. And this is not really a battle involving the kids. It's between the, the parents. Am I right in thinking about that? Reneé Rodriguez: Yeah. This becomes one of the biggest problems too. I mean, you, you hear these accusations of parental alienation, right, in spite of the fact that, that's junk science. You've got the domestic violence by proxy. But I think the, the best thing that I always say, is you, you can't be talking to your kids about the court battle. You just can't, you know. I know, Seth earlier, you were saying, the children, when are they old enough to actually speak to the judge, right? Well, you wanna try to avoid that altogether. Um, it's gonna happen from time to time, but, uh, you shouldn't be coaching your kids. You shouldn't be talking to your kids about it. Um, I, it's, it's my recommendation that, as little awareness of these court dates and all these court preparations that the kids can have, the better. The problem is, is that, you know, what if, what if the other parent isn't doing the same thing, right? What if the other parent is disparaging, um, what we call, the healthier parent, when we're talking about domestic violence, right? What if they're preparing them for court? I just had a client recently, who, the abusive parent was actually, had the child, um, memorizing note cards. And filed a motion specifically to have the children talk to the judge. That's, that was the whole motion. Please, talk to these kids because they say they wanna be with me. Meanwhile, my client has documentation like crazy, of bribery, the note cards, all of it. And, um, this is the kinda thing that's really heartbreaking to see. Seth Nelson: And let me tell ya, judges, they have been doing this long enough, they know and they've said it in open court, "Be careful what you wish for." I've had so many clients say, or cases I should say, where one parent is saying, "I want the judge to talk to the kids. I want the judge to talk to the kids. I want the judge to talk to the kids." And if I'm representing that parent, I'm like, "Let's be careful," because sometimes they get behind closed doors, and they don't say what you think they're gonna say. Reneé Rodriguez: Yeah. Seth Nelson: Right? If that judge can make them feel protected and safe, and say, "I'm here to do what I think is best for you. You get to tell me your s- your story." And they talk it through, and sometimes that's not gonna work on your favor. And the other thing, kind of to, to backtrack a little, Pete, one of the most difficult things about family law, it is the, really what I can think of is the only area of law at the top of my head, where the main thing you're fighting about, which are human beings and their lives, the children don't get a say. And really what we're doing is evaluating the parents and how they are as parents, and how did their actions impact the children. What the judges have a really hard time doing, because cases don't get presented to them the way the judges might wanna hear them, is stop talking about your bickering, start talking to me about the kids, right? And w- you know, we've had j- Judge Tibbals on the show. He's like, "If a parent come in and tells me everything's great and parenting is easy, I've got kids. I know that's not the case." Pete Wright: (laughing) Yeah. Let's not forget, judges are human. I think there's that message, yeah. Yeah, there's part of that. Seth Nelson: Renee, you're laughing, as if you've got a dozen kids. You're like, "That's not true." Reneé Rodriguez: Um, I've got one. So, for those of you who do have a dozen kids, my goodness. (laughing) No. I, you know what, you make me think of the, there's this idea that's always, uh, dominant in my head. And I think, uh, I know it comes from my psych background. And really, it's frustrating for me because, um, you know, we've got all these 50/50 schedules. And what's the best 50/50? And what's the best schedule? And who's gonna be the primary caregiver? And I kinda feel like, instead of doing this whole, oh, well now, that we're getting a divorce, I've got a wake up call, and I want more time with my kids. Let's look at the kids and let's see what's kept them stable. Who has been the primary caregiver, right? It used to be that, that's what we're focusing on. And now, it kinda feels like, we're just looking at how can we get this to be 50/50? What's the best 50/50? But psychology tells us that there's not just a primary caregiver. There's a primary attachment figure. And the primary attachment figure is determined within the first two years of a child's life. So, if you have a dad or a mom, who has been the primary caregiver for the first two years of a child's life, it's so interesting. Because there are studies that show that, even if that primary attachment figure is taken away for some reason, they were in jail or they had to go abroad or whatever, and the other parent becomes the primary caregiver that, that child will still feel closer to the absent parent who is their primary attachment figure, but that doesn't even come into play in court. And so, I find it interesting that we're looking to see how we can reach 50/50, instead of saying, "What stability have these children have? Can we trust it?" How can we make that still happen but allow them to go and visit the parent who wasn't their primary caregiver, and is still a valuable person in their lives? Pete Wright: An un-ironic, non-sarcastic question, how many times do, does that conversation happen outside of court between parents who are trying to determine custody? Even in non-contentious, like, uh, situations, is that like, I, I've, this is the first time, I've actually thought about it the way you're talking about it. But I guess, will pop easy in print on parents like, I feel like we, we did have a very similar conversation around, how to take care of pets in a divorce situation. And it, it's, I can't believe we're actually talking about kids that way, right now. It's just sort of a surprise to me. Seth Nelson: I have this conversation all the time. And I've made these arguments in court, and here's how it goes. "Judge, these children are attached. Here is why they're attached. They're doing great in school. Here's everything. I think this parenting plan should mirror what's been happening in their lives, right?" That's, that's the argument. Reneé Rodriguez: Yeah. Seth Nelson: The flip side of the is, "Judge, of course that's what's been happening in their lives because they were married and they were dividing up parental responsibility and financial responsibility, but now, things are changing. And it's the public policy of this state that kids spend, as much time with both parents, as possible, and, and frequent, and continuing access. And because things are changing, therefore, the kids are gonna have to adjust, and things will change. And there's always an adjustment period, we get it, Judge, but it will be okay." And that's the other side of that argument. And so then, people start throwing bombs, right? And literally, and, and Renee hit on it, we go for 50/50, one parent wants 50/50, right? And what happens is, and I've made this argument in court, "Judge, they're going for quantity, not quality." Reneé Rodriguez: Mm-hmm. Seth Nelson: Right? So, what do we really want? We want a parent who is at the game and puts down their cell phone. Reneé Rodriguez: That's right, that's right. I like the way you phrase that. Seth Nelson: So, Pete, Pete always says this. I gotta pivot, 'cause I wanna pivot. Pete, I'm taking your line. Because you deal a lot with domestic violence. Pete Wright: Yeah. Seth Nelson: And we've talked about, "Hey, we're dealing with stuff, but we're putting domestic violence aside." Let's just talk about that straight head on. Reneé Rodriguez: Yeah. Seth Nelson: If you're a victim of domestic violence, how are we dealing with those types of cases? And what are some of that person's own, I'm gonna put it in quotes, "traps or barriers," where they can't get through it, or they find themself in this cycle. And what can we do to help them get out of that violence of that cycle of violence? Reneé Rodriguez: The first thing is the most important thing, which is to get them out of that cycle of violence. Um, we know that the most dangerous time is when you, you announce that you're leaving and you go. Um, so if you, if there is violence or there's a potential for it, that's the most dangerous time, right there, right? Um, the DV hotline is very good at this. Um, they are very good at telling you, how to leave, what to do? They're very good at finding you, your local resources. But then, once you've, you've gotten away from that, right, then you are going into your court battle, and so it looks a little different. There are different things that you need to be doing. And this is where it gets tricky. I won't lie. Um, we really have to look at each case specifically and keep in mind that when we talk about domestic abuse, uh, which is a term I'm using more and more, rather than domestic violence, because of the domestic violence that is psychological abuse. Um, coercive control, laws are being passed in other countries, and we've got bills in some of our states and, uh, a law in Washington, but we're not quite where we need to be with that, right? So, when I talk about domestic abuse, it encompasses all of that. So then, what happens once you're in a court battle? Well, you gotta get yourself a DV advocate, a domestic violence advocate. But I wanna be clear that you have to really find out what your advocate's gonna do, because for the most part, an advocate is simply there to help you process the abuse and to figure out what next steps, what resources could be. Um, they'll direct you to housing, financial, all kinds of resources there. And, um, many of them will actually come to your court case, whether it's Zoom or in-person, and just sit there, as a domestic violence advocate. And, um, I like that, as a statement. Seth Nelson: So, I will tell you, before that happens, I always advice talking to a lawyer about who they want in the courtroom. Reneé Rodriguez: Mm-hmm, I like that. Seth Nelson: Because remember, judges see everything in the courtroom, and they're human, and they're influenced by it. So, if I'm having someone that's supporting my client, I'm gonna want to talk to them. I wanna make sure to talk to them about what they're gonna wear, how they're gonna behave in the courtroom. What they're gonna do and not do, which basically, you're not gonna do anything but sit there. But most of our human communication is nonverbal, so that could be a problem, as well. Um, and that could have potentially a negative impact, so just always think that through. Having support is great, but you don't want that support to become a negative aspect in your court case. Reneé Rodriguez: Yeah. With the DV advocate, so that's somebody you've got, right? But then, you're bringing in your concerns, and you're trying to show what's going on at the household. Because what we find is that it's, it's usually, this is where the battle gets ugly. This is where it's kinda like, I want everything. Um, a lot of times, what we're looking at, to be honest with you, is litigation abuse. And control to the point, where we will have an abusive parent who wants the children. And now, that they have the children alone, whether it's just for one day a week, or whether they got a few, a little bit more time each week, what we're, what they find out is they come back and say, well, they just sat them down on front of the TV. They dropped them off at their own moms. They, you know, so they're not really taking care of them. And their focus is more on, I just don't want her to have the kids. I just don't want him to have the kids. Seth Nelson: But let me, let me point on that. Reneé Rodriguez: Yeah. Seth Nelson: So now, Pete. Pete Wright: Yeah. Seth Nelson: You have a parent who is fighting for the children, not because, I'm gonna just say he, not 'cause he wants them, because he doesn't want mom to have them. And he sits them down on front of the TV, or drops them off at grandma's house. Here's the conversation I have. They're better sitting on front of the TV than dealing with him. They're better at grandma's than with him. The hardest thing in the world is being a single parent, really being a single mom. You need to recharge your batteries. If they're with grandma, they're safe. No, they're not. She'll hide from them. Okay. Let's just talk it through. The court is giving them some time. So, we have to adjust our expectations. There is not a judge or court in this world that can make your spouse be a good parent. Reneé Rodriguez: Mm-hmm. Seth Nelson: Stop asking the court to do that. Reneé Rodriguez: Right, right. I, you know what, thank you for bringing that up because I gotta be honest, with these parenting classes and these types of things, it doesn't, it doesn't enact change. It doesn't. Pete Wright: You mean like, court ordered parenting classes? Reneé Rodriguez: The court ordered parenting classes- Pete Wright: Okay. Reneé Rodriguez: ... that type of thing. There are, there are very few classes that can really make a change. And we know, um, that you have to first, admit that you're an abuser and be willing to change. And the chances of that happening are slim to none. Pete Wright: Especially when the court has ordered you to do it. Seth Nelson: Right, exactly. Reneé Rodriguez: Fun fact (laughs). Seth Nelson: Go to this advanced parenting class. Pete Wright: Yeah. Go to this and admit that you're a bad person. Seth Nelson: Right, right. Reneé Rodriguez: Right, right (laughs). Seth Nelson: But, the other thing to that, you can change what you do. So, I work a lot with my clients frankly, during the litigation, to change how they communicate. Be brief, be informative, be friendly, be firm. And it's only about the issue at hand. [inaudible 00:34:25], and you just keep it. And it's almost like, the same in quasi quotes, rules that I give for your deposition for being in court. You really gotta keep it brief, just the minimum. Don't go on and on, 'cause that just opens the door, or the proverbial can of worms. So, that will also drive your spouse crazy because now, you're communicating differently than they've expected or they've seen, over the last 2, 3, 5, 10, 15, 20 years. And it throws them for a loop. And now, they have to try different behaviors to get back to pushing your buttons. And when you hold firm, th- they're lost. Reneé Rodriguez: It's fascinating to watch the change between and I, you know, you can see this yourself. If you're in this situation and you make that change, where you're brief, you're factual, you're friendly, you only respond to logistics about the children, nothing else, and it's, uh, they go nuts, you know. The, the controller, the abuser, they, I mean, they start to, the accusations come flying in. We actually, I always, I kind of love that. First off, you know, you've got finally this parent is getting some control over their life and they're keeping it brief. They're not giving away evidence, as it were. But the other thing is, I call it evidence gathering because the accusations come in. It's kinda like, so here's, here are some more accusations we might see. Um, and that's what you're gonna tell your lawyer. Here are some more accusations that are flying in. Let's prepare for this too. So, I find that craziness that they, that they come back with, kinda helpful. Pete Wright: Certainly, to, to, to present or to confirm the case that you're making to your own attorney. Reneé Rodriguez: Yeah, that's right. Pete Wright: That, you know, you're telling these stories that are kind of crazy. You're about to see it in action. Let's go, let's go to court and see what that's like. Seth Nelson: And the, the other thing on that, Pete- Pete Wright: Yeah. Seth Nelson: ... when you get this type of people in court, they're lost because they're not in control. They're treated like a child, speak when spoken to, and it's, answer the question. And I usually see someone that's just combative all the time still. They just can't get it out. And the court sees it, and they're like, "Well, Judge, here's what I'm talking about." Or they're overly deferential to the judge and to the bailiff and all that stuff. And it's almost like they come in with their tail between their legs. And they're just so super, super nice, right? Pete Wright: Right. Seth Nelson: And the judges see all these personalities. And it's almost like, really, that's like the creepy neighbor next door that, oh, he was always so nice. And then, he's the ax murderer. Pete Wright: Right (laughs). Seth Nelson: Right? Reneé Rodriguez: Yeah. Seth Nelson: And, and they're like, oh, yeah. Everyone likes him. My clients tell me, "Everyone likes him. He's so charming." I'm like, "He's not gonna be charming when I'm pressing him on answers, and he's not answering them," right? Reneé Rodriguez: Yeah. Pete Wright: Well, and that is, that's something that's interesting, Seth, you bring that up. You know, we talked to m- uh, with, uh, Megan Hunter on high conflict divorce. And, and talk about the same, some of the same issues. And one of the things she, she had indicated was, you know, you, like, narcissists always think that they're the first of their kind, right? That they're the first and the best. So, they come into court and they surely feel like, you've never seen anything like me, right? Like, I'm going to be, uh, I'm gonna be better than anybody else, who has ever done this thing, put on this show, in this courtroom, in this time. So, I, I think that's, uh, fascinating. Seth Nelson: I've seen it in depositions, where- Pete Wright: Sure. Seth Nelson: ... literally, they think they're smarter than me. And guess what? They might be, but this is their first time being deposed in a family law case and I've done this a thousand times, (laughs) right? Pete Wright: Yeah, right, right. Seth Nelson: So, I just have more experience. Pete Wright: Right. Seth Nelson: I've seen more pitches. And I see their lawyer, who I might be friends with and who is a very good lawyer, and I'm asking this question and, and the answers they're giving. And their lawyer is like, "Oh, my god. My guy is getting fileted." And then, we get done with the deposition and then, we offer a settlement, right? And then, I've got that on record, so when he answers differently in court, what changed in the last three weeks, you know? Um, so it's really where they just, they don't understand, I'm gonna put this in quotes, "The game they're playing." Reneé Rodriguez: No, I agree. Seth Nelson: They don't understand the process. They don't, and, and when you can get under them their skin, which isn't really hard to do, it shows their true colors. And if they're just doing this, like you were saying, Pete, I'm the first of my kind. I've got this. They don't. Pete Wright: Mm-hmm. Seth Nelson: But you need a lawyer that's gonna be able to expose that through the questions and answers. And listening to the answers and doing the followup questions, and drilling down and- Reneé Rodriguez: You do, but it's true. They think that they're special and unique. It's, uh, part of the work that we do, is we'll do, uh, group coaching calls because we found it's incredibly effective for people to see us work with other clients. And over and over again, we'll bring up an email, and a client will say, "How do I respond to this?" And there will be two other people on the Zoom saying, "Holy crap," almost word for word. Pete Wright: I have that email. Reneé Rodriguez: Yeah. And it's, it's like they thought, you know, they feel so alone because it's such an attack, and they do think that they're so superior and that type of thing. But they're all, it's like there's a narcissistic playbook out there, and they're all just memorizing it. And then, they think that they actually made it up. It's, it's insanity. Pete Wright: I'm a little bit relieved that, uh, I don't think they listen to this show. Seth Nelson: The narcissists? Reneé Rodriguez: They don't need it (laughs). Pete Wright: Those people. They, yeah, the narcissists. Reneé Rodriguez: They don't need anything. Pete Wright: We, we are, that's not really our core audience. Seth Nelson: Why would they? They know everything. Pete Wright: (laughs) They got it. Reneé Rodriguez: Exactly. Seth Nelson: Right, you know. Pete Wright: So, I, I feel like we've, we've talked about, but I just wanna put, before I forget, uh, you, you mentioned the, the DV hotline, it is thehotline.org, T-H-E hotline.org. And the, uh, National Domestic Violence hotline, their domestic violence support is fantastic. They are saying that it's a 15 minute wait for calls, possibly more right now, but it is staffed 24/7. You can chat with them. And if you're, I'm, I'm sort of blown away by the, the technical back end of this site. I mean, if you feel like you are, uh, in, uh, a place where, uh, your internet use is being, if you're being watched or somehow in a, in a, not a safe place, they have this little trick. You can just hit the escape key twice on your keyboard and site just takes you back to Google. Um, uh, it's just so smart. They've, they've thought of a lot of things, uh, resources in the, in the show notes. But if you, if you need a resource while you're listening to this show, it's thehotline.org. Awesome. Let's, uh, let's, let's pivot a little bit. Uh, Renee, you, you're not an attorney. Reneé Rodriguez: No. Pete Wright: Background is in psychology. How did you end up going into custody coaching yourself? Reneé Rodriguez: So, my background is, uh, I, you know, I'm a true gemini. I've done a lot and I've done it all quite deeply. And, uh, so I do have a psych background. But, um, my career has really been in strategy on the corporate side. And, uh, teaching outside of that, um, for several years of each, um, concurrently. So, um, I went through my own custody battle, um, with someone, uh, who was highly problematic. And I was calling the DV hotline, and they were telling me how to leave and that type of thing. And when I was going through it, I ended up, um, interviewing 13 lawyers, uh, before I found one that actually- Pete Wright: Ooh. Reneé Rodriguez: ... said the right thing to me. Pete Wright: Wow. Seth Nelson: Damn. Reneé Rodriguez: Yeah, 13 lawyers. It's like, I, you, you could tell I'm a teacher and a researcher 'cause I was like, okay. The 13th lawyer- Seth Nelson: Unless, you would have explained that to me, like I'm a teacher and a researcher. If you called me and I was like, number seven. I'd be like, "Renee, I'll be straight with you. We're not off to a good start." Reneé Rodriguez: Uh, so let me, uh, so what's interesting about it, is that I couldn't quite get anybody to understand what I was dealing with. And I knew there would be somebody out there. I just knew it. And it was this, this one, who kinda looked at it and he said, "It's, you, you have to get control back here, somehow. You have to get control of your own life." It's not like, you have to be controlling, but I mean. And I was kinda like, "Oh, my god. You kind of understand what's happening here." So, he understood the psychological abuse. Pete Wright: That was it, that was the key. Reneé Rodriguez: Yeah. Seth Nelson: Renee, Renee, I'm gonna, I'm gonna put you on the spot here. Reneé Rodriguez: Okay. Seth Nelson: 'Cause I'm gonna tell you what I tell potential clients, when they call me, and see how you would have responded at it. Pete and I, we haven't planted this. So, she could say, "Seth, you're an idiot, or Seth, you're brilliant." I know which one you're voting for. Yes, exactly. Pete Wright: Well, I, I think you know which one. Yeah, all right. Seth Nelson: Exactly. Pete Wright: Okay, all right. Seth Nelson: So, when someone comes to me on the phone, or on a Zoom, or we're sitting down, and they start telling me the story. After I hear what I consider to be "enough," in quotes. And what I mean by enough to me, I get it. I get it. I, I know what you're dealing with 'cause I've been doing this a long time. I've had these conversations. I dealt with these guys before. I will immediately say, "I got it. Please, stop talking to me about him. I wanna know about you. What are your goals? What are your objectives?" So, I can figure out whether we're a good fit, and I can tell you whether I can achieve those goals, if they're realistic in the court system. And what we're about to do versus, the real world, perceived world, legal world that we mentioned briefly before. So, n- and then, they'll hear me. And then, they'll start talking about, "Well, he does this, this, this, this, this." I'll be like, "Stop, please. I don't represent him. I get the type of person you're talking about. I represent you, if you want me to. I'm asking about you. Let's talk about how you can." And then, I'll say stuff like, "How we can focus on you? How we can get a better life for you? How, do you wanna feel the same way you feel today, a year from now, or two years from now?" If the answer is no, we need to take a step today, or a step, and start changing it. How do you think you would have responded to a firm, brief, informative, friendly conversation, but I'm pretty hard on them, on that? What, what do you think about that approach? Reneé Rodriguez: That is largely the language my number 13 used. And that's why I ended up with him. Seth Nelson: Ah, Pete, you lose again. Pete Wright: Look at you. (laughs) Oh. Reneé Rodriguez: My number, my number two- Pete Wright: I haven't rung this bell in forever. Reneé Rodriguez: I know. Th- So, the first person was, I, I, the first person was all, it was all kind like, okay, I don't know. And then, I knew I needed to speak to more than one person. I can't just pick the first lawyer. The second lawyer said that I should just have [inaudible 00:44:37] with my child, and that didn't feel good to me. Seth Nelson: That's bad. Pete Wright: What? Seth Nelson: Yeah. Pete Wright: What? Seth Nelson: Okay. Pete Wright: Wait a minute. Reneé Rodriguez: Yeah. Seth Nelson: Oh. Pete Wright: [inaudible 00:44:43] with your child. Reneé Rodriguez: Yes. Seth Nelson: Uh, all right. Reneé Rodriguez: You should just go, you should just take the child and go. Pete Wright: Seth (laughs). Reneé Rodriguez: Um, and so- Pete Wright: I'm sure that wasn't on the bar exam. Seth Nelson: Yeah (laughs). Pete Wright: I'm sure. Reneé Rodriguez: I, I, and I kind of felt that, right? I was like, oh, my god, no, here. Seth Nelson: It, it is on the bar exam. It, it's a wrong answer, okay (laughing). Pete Wright: It's just not the answer I would want, I would expect, yeah. Reneé Rodriguez: It's like the Homer s- Simpson gif, where I'm just like, backing, backing to the bush to go look for another lawyer. Pete Wright: It felt like (laughs)- Reneé Rodriguez: So, um, no, but I found a lawyer. He was good. And it was just the two of us. And I kind of felt like, you know, I've got this strategy background. I'm so super organized. And he was like, "Oh, my god. You're such an ideal client. You're giving me this. You're narrowing this down. You're doing this. You're doing all of that." I felt like we needed something else. That wasn't a reflection on him or me. It just felt like something was missing. And I had discovered that I was being psychologically abused, and was also in recovery at the same time. So, when I was doing that, as, uh, you know, back, this was like 10 years ago. And so, when I was doing that, there wasn't a lot on the internet about narcissism or NPD, narcissistic personality disorder or abuse, but there were a few places. One of them suggested, um, you know, uh, a woman who was a divorce coach. I was like, "A divorce coach. What's that?" So, I talked to her and she specialized in NPD. And, um, she, uh, is Tina Swithin, she's the head of One Mom's Battle, and she was my divorce coach. And she changed the trajectory of my case, just having her there. But there was a point where she said, "Look. Now, that you're having a custody evaluation, um, you, this is not my wheelhouse. I have two coaches who are specialized in this, and can prepare you for it, to really just not, you know, falter. And just really do what needs to be done." Seth Nelson: So, let's, let's back up. Reneé Rodriguez: Mm-hmm. Seth Nelson: Pete, as we've discussed before, there's a mediator, there's a judge, there's a court reporter. There's all these people around the divorce. One of them is a guardian ad litem- Pete Wright: Right. Seth Nelson: ... where they're gonna go and talk to the kids and talk to the parents, and any teachers, or friends, or little league coaches, or all these other people, babysitters, whatever. And to try to get a full picture of this kid's life, how the parents interact. And they come up with, uh, what they think is a parenting plan. They give it to the judge. The judge doesn't have to take it, but you go with that. Pete Wright: Season two, episode three. Seth Nelson: There you go. Pete Wright: Courtney Bowes, Guardian ad Litem. Seth Nelson: You got it. Then, we have a full custody evaluator, which is a mental health professional that will do psychological testing. And meet with you, and do everything your guardian just did, but they really dive into the psychology through the testing. So, part of what I do, as a lawyer and what Renee's talking about now, is preparing the client on how to speak to these people that are evaluating you and trying to figure out what's best for your kids, because that's part of the evaluation. And that can change the outcome of your case, by how you present yourself, and how you talk about the other parent. And how you respond when your parenting is going to be analyzed and under a microscope, or you feel you're being attacked, okay. It's vitally important. And so many lawyers I know is like, "Oh, let's get an evaluator." And then, they just send off their client- Reneé Rodriguez: Yeah. Seth Nelson: ... and they're just going into the lion's den without any preparation. Reneé Rodriguez: Yeah. So, that's what I, that lion's den was what I was going to go into without preparation. Um, but Tina said, she said, "You know what? You have this strategy background. You organize and research like crazy. Just come up with something. Figure out how to present your documentation, your evidence, as it were. And, um, let's just kind of get through it." So, I put some stuff together, spent a few weeks. Came back to her and she said, "Renee, I've never seen anything like this. I've never seen anything like this." She said, "You're presenting it, at such a clear persuasive way. You're showing, you're showing only so much evidence, but it tells the whole picture. And you're, you've got it organized." And I said, "Well, I just leaned on my, um, strategy background. That you know, there is a psychological persuasion to the way you present things. And that's what I used here." She said, "You should become a coach." And I said, "Slow your role. I really need to get through this." Um, but a couple of years later, you know, people, she had spread the word and people were like, "I, I need, I need these, these templates, I need these templates." And these templates were going out all over the place. And a friend said, "You gotta just be doing this. You gotta give up everything you're doing. I think that this is what you should be doing." And so, that's, that's what I've been doing for the last five years. Pete Wright: That's where you are. Reneé Rodriguez: Mm-hmm. Pete Wright: Fascinating. Um, so, uh, then, you practice your business through, Best Foot Forward. Reneé Rodriguez: I do. Pete Wright: Where would you send people to learn more about your, your work and the kinds of tools you present for folks? Reneé Rodriguez: You can go to thecustodyblueprint.com, thecustodyblueprint.com. And, um, there, you can find out more about us. Um, we do talk about the kind of clients we work with, uh, which is largely what I've been describing. We're pretty m- Our niche is really, um, people who have suffered narcissistic abuse, quite frankly, men and women. We help them get through it because, um, I'm also a domestic violence advocate, now. So, the thing of it is, is that, you know, what we're doing is, yes, people are using the blueprint and figur- uh, using these templates and figuring out how to get through the evaluation, but we help them partner strongly with their lawyer. We help them figure out what kind of strategy ideas to bring to their lawyer, from my strategy background. We help their mindset. They are recovering from abuse. Many of these people are still living with an abusive spouse who has escalated. And how do you appear in court, if you're a mess? And, uh, appear in, you know, everywhere? And so, we help with that, as well. Um, and then, of course, we help them organize their documentation and choose, select some of it, to, um, bring in to show the court. Pete Wright: You hear that, Seth? I mean that sounds like a dream for a guy like you. Seth Nelson: I'm actually gonna just take the rest of the day off. And have Renee work with everybody. Pete Wright: With everybody you got on the docket, yeah. Seth Nelson: Yeah, everybody. Everyone on the docket. Pete Wright: Uh, well, uh, you know, and so, question for you, Seth. How many, uh, uh, uh, just as a rough percentage, of the cases that you deal with on a given time period? Say, a year, are contentious enough that, that they escalate to this sort of, sort of, classification of custody battle, like we've been talking about. 10%? 20%? 5%? Seth Nelson: I would say that less than 10% of the cases go to a full-blown trial. Probably less than 5% go to a full-blown trial. It doesn't mean that there weren't some skirmishes along the way. It doesn't mean that we don't do everything Renee is saying. You don't have to get to the trial to have a big drawn out custody battle. 'Cause ultimately, the case might get resolved at a mediation or a settlement. Or you go through and have this evaluation done, and the evaluator comes back favorable to you, not favorable to the other side. Well, now, what are they gonna go to court with? So, sometimes what I tell my client, "Offer just a little more than what they're being, the evaluator is giving them." Reneé Rodriguez: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. Right, right. Seth Nelson: And let's say, $100,000, right? Reneé Rodriguez: Yeah. Seth Nelson: So, um, put your kids through college, not mine. Pete Wright: Yeah, right. Well, it's, I, I just think, you know, I hear all this and I, I think it's interesting, is, as you know, looking at it from the outside that, uh, just how valuable. Like, uh, that this doesn't happen in all cases. We're talking about a, a percent of, uh, of, of divorce cases, uh, that involve kids, that drive toward these contentious, narcissistic, you know, custody battles. But man, what a relief that you are doing the work you do, Renee, to, to help smooth this out for people who need it. So, um, I so appreciate you being here, and teaching us, uh, about what you do, and how you do it, and how you integrate with the, um, with the, the legal, the universe of, of the law. Reneé Rodriguez: I'm grateful to be doing it. Um, and I'm grateful to help, um, all the clients and, and you know, augment what the lawyers are doing. So, yeah, thanks. Pete Wright: Thank you so much. Uh, on behalf of, uh, Renee Rodriguez and, uh, you know, we, uh, Seth Nelson. He's, he's always here. Uh, we, we thank you everybody for, uh, downloading and listening to this show. Don't forget, you can get a, uh, you can ask us questions, uh, at just head over to, to howtosplitatoaster.com/askaquestion. And, uh, you can post your questions for us about this or any other topic you would like to ask your divorce lawyer. We will answer it. We'll have Seth answer it. And, uh, uh, and, and we'll help you, help you figure out some problems. We, that's what we wanna do on this show. So, thank you so much on behalf of Renee Rodriguez and Seth Nelson, America's favorite divorce attorney. I'm Pete Wright. And we'll catch you next week, right here, on How to Split a Toaster, a divorce podcast about saving your relationships. Outro: Seth Nelson is an Attorney with NLG Divorce & Family Law, with offices in Tampa, Florida. While we may be discussing family law topics, How to Split a Toaster is not intended to, nor is it providing legal advice. Every situation is different. If you have specific questions regarding your situation, please seek your own legal counsel with an attorney licensed to practice law in your jurisdiction. Pete Wright is not an attorney or employee of NLG Divorce & Family Law. Seth Nelson is licensed to practice law in Florida.