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How a Florida Family Law Attorney Says TalkingParents Helps Fathers Advocate for Themselves

Chantale Suttle is a Family Law Attorney located in Miami, Florida. She has dealt with the child support enforcement system from all three angles, as a prosecutor, defense attorney, and a magistrate judge. Suttle is also a Founder of DADvocacy, a firm solely dedicated to helping fathers facing the family court system. In addition to serving fathers, Suttle is regularly appointed by courts to represent the interests of children in marital disputes as guardian ad litem.

Benefits

Suttle has been practicing law for 27 years, primarily representing dads for 10 of those. She has recommended TalkingParents for a very long time, saying she considers it a critical tool to get her clients talking properly.

“I am such a believer in TalkingParents,” says Suttle. “To me, it’s a school of better communication. I tell my clients, it’s not just a Record. It’s where you ask for permission or accommodation. It’s where you ask for a schedule switch or notify the other parent of a doctor’s appointment. It’s training you for that courteous behavior and business-like speak that you need to have with your ex.”

Suttle says having her clients on TalkingParents is a way of protecting them.

“My client is usually dad, and dad is usually the one who stands accused of making threats,” she explains. “So, I need my client protected so that no one can say he made a threatening statement that he didn’t make. It’s all right there in TalkingParents. It can’t be deleted. It can’t be altered. It can also prevent your client from coming off as threatening to their ex because it allows them to take a deep breath and look at it in writing. And things look different when we see them in writing. We’re going to think twice. It’s a no brainer to use a communication platform in the high-conflict cases.”

Suttle says she doesn’t just recommend TalkingParents for clients in high-conflict situations, but for those who get along as well.

“I often tell my clients that I don’t care if they’re ‘BFFs,’” says Suttle. “TalkingParents can be an organizational tool for anyone, helping you remember important details surrounding your child, their needs, and their schedule. I especially recommend it for co-parents who have a high medical needs child. It’s best to organize records, remember doctor's names, and just generally keep track of who said what.”

Suttle’s firm strictly uses TalkingParents as their co-parenting communication platform for clients.

“Our clients are struggling, and to have a no-cost platform, that’s huge,” she explains. “That’s part of why we started recommending TalkingParents left and right. We also wanted to stick with one product at our firm because that makes it a lot easier. For everyone on our staff of attorneys to be using the same platform repeatedly helps a lot. We’re not having to switch around from one platform to another, which makes things much more efficient for us. We can see the behavior in the communication of the client, the storage, the backups, and all that kind of stuff in one program.”

Orders & Stipulations

When it comes to special rules, guidelines, and stipulations surrounding the use of TalkingParents, Suttle says they often use an outline created by Magistrate Robert Jones.

“Magistrate Robert Jones is kind of considered the oracle of family law in Miami-Dade County,” she says. “He’s since retired, but he put in a standard TalkingParents order that said, you should not typically be communicating more than once a day. You shouldn’t be harassing the other side with constant questions. If the communication calls for an answer, like, ‘hey, can you take so and so to the orthodontist on Tuesday?’ you must respond that day. But if it’s something like, ‘hey, we should start talking about summer camp at some point,’ then you can respond within 48 hours.”

Suttle says those are the four main pieces of the standard Robert Jones TalkingParents order.

“This was done because some people on TalkingParents would use the service as an opportunity to bombard their co-parent all day,” she explains. “This really helps limit it to that essential communication that you need with an ex, which is definitely useful for keeping those boundaries. And, of course, there are emergency exceptions.”

Advice

When Suttle has clients that are initially reluctant to use TalkingParents, she says reminding them of the cost factor often remedies that.

“Nobody wants to change what they’re already doing,” she says. “But that’s when I make the argument of, ‘well, the easier my job is as your attorney, the cheaper it is for you.’ So, if I have to subpoena Verizon or T-Mobile to prove that those texts were received and placed on the dates that the screenshot says, that’s probably a $1,000 exercise. Or they can just get on TalkingParents and I have what I need.”

Suttle also reminds her clients that using TalkingParents is crucial to show the judge the full picture.

“I had a client who was so accommodating and so reasonable,” she says. “Every time he would talk with his co-parent, he was the picture of patience. And one day, he lost it on her over text. It was a one-time thing—never happened before and never happened again. But his co-parent just brought in screenshots of those few bad texts for the judge to see.”

Had her client been on TalkingParents, Suttle says the judge would’ve been able to flip through the months and months of messages showing decency and accommodation from her client, painting a completely different picture.

“The whole picture is so easy to access and present through TalkingParents,” she says. “And that makes all the difference. It makes my job easier, it saves my client’s money, and it saves both of our time.”

TalkingParents blogs are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Always consult with a qualified attorney regarding legal matters.

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