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How to Split a Toaster episode 614 • Reneé Rodriguez

Navigating Custody Battles with Reneé Rodriguez

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!

About Reneé

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.

Seth Nelson is a Tampa based family lawyer known for devising creative solutions to difficult problems. In How to Split a Toaster, Nelson and co-host Pete Wright take on the challenge of divorce with a central objective — saving your most important relationships with your family, your former spouse, and yourself.