Custody Battles - How to write a proper recommendation

Bkono By Bkono, 16th Jun 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Divorce

Custody Battles - Simple ways to write an eloquent recommendation for a deserving parent in your life

Make Note Of Your History

The first step in writing your letter, is not to start with the letter itself. Instead, begin to think about all of the moments you have spent with both the parent and the children. Really try to find a specific instance where the parent in question showed great character in how they reacted to something. Was there a moment when something went wrong, and the parent dealt with it calmly and intelligently? How did the child react? How did the parent react to the child's reaction? Perhaps you haven't been a part of any "major" moments with the family, but finding these little instances can be just as relevant, and show what type of parent a person is.

No Mud Slinging!

One of the most common mistakes when it comes to a recommendation, is trying to build up the parent you like by tearing the other parent down. This may be a difficult task if the person you are against has had a very questionable history, especially with their children. Unfortunately, you have to remember that this is a recommendation for someone. Slandering the reputation of one does not automatically build the reputation of another.

Having said that, however, you can bring up points where one parent did something that seemed to put lives into turmoil, and use this as a point of reference to how the other parent reacted.

For example: "Jimmy's mother, Karen, was angry over food being left out overnight and threw it at him. When Jimmy called his father, Alex, he was crying and explained what had happened. Alex immediately left an important meeting to pick Jimmy up and make sure he was safe. Instead of showing anger toward Karen, Alex decided to have a heart to heart with her afterward. Alex made himself clear that he did not approve nor would he allow violence with his child, while simultaneously reiterating his respect for her as a mother and his understanding that emotions can run high."

The example above demonstrates a few of things. 1) Karen has shown violent tendencies 2) Alex feels safe with Jimmy 3) Alex approaches tough situations with a calm and understanding demeanor.

It is very easy to lash out at a parent you dislike, but you must always remember to keep things pointed at the character for whom you are writing the letter.

Structuring Your Letter

Now that you have compiled your notes, it is time to put them together! The structure for your layout can be a bit more relaxed than you might be thinking. This can be a bit "informal", as if you were writing to a friend. Although there is not an exact way of laying things out, a good suggestion would be to make sure you are keeping everything balanced.

NOTE : Try to keep this to one page!

For instance, start the letter off by introducing yourself and your relationship to the family, including number of years you've known them, how often you see them, babysit for them, tutor them etc. Be sure to mention whether or not you have any official training in family development, or history in raising a child yourself.

Next, you could start your paragraph leading into one of the stories you made note of earlier. Be sure to include how the parent went out of their way, in both good situations and bad, and the positive responses the child has had. A story that demonstrates the parent's skill and positive approach to raising a child is precisely what your recommendation needs!

If you have respect for the parent you are NOT writing this letter for, it wouldn't hurt to mention it, just always make sure to turn it back to the parent you ARE writing for. Structurally, it helps to break up your stories into their own paragraph.

Lastly, you may want to sum up your letter with a heartfelt sentence or two that ties everything together. Reiterate the kind of person the parent is, how the child is with them and the possible effects if the child is taken away.


Custody, Divorce, Family, Recommendations, References

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
17th Jun 2015 (#)

Thanks Bkono for this comprehensive take on a tough issue - agreed, one has to be totally balanced and convincing seeing the issue from every angle especially so that the children are not disadvantaged - siva

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