Monday, January 4, 2016

Judicial thought control?

New Jersey. Father and mother share legal custody of 8yo son. Father has primary physical custody.

Mother objects because (1) she opposes her ex-husband’s desire to have his fiancee become more involved in parental decisions, and (2) her 8-year-old son was beginning to call her ex-husband’s fiancee “Mom.” 

Mother is upset that another lady is playing a prominent role in her son's life. I get it. Divorce is hard on people, especially when children are involved. Mother feels displaced. I know I'd be, especially because Father has primary physical custody, is newly engaged to be remarried, and the boy is calling the fiancee “Mom.”

But asking a judge to make this type of ruling seems a little too paranoid.

The judge found both parents, as well as the father’s fiancee, played a positive role in the boy’s life. It sure beats quite a few divorces I'm aware of [family, friends, and acquaintances], where it cannot be said that both parents are positive role models. And we apparently don't have a Cinderella stepmother here. This lady wants to be a positive part of this young boy's life. In fact, she appears to be doing a fine job, if the boy is starting to call her “Mom.”

The judge ruled (1) the father may consult with the fiancee for her opinion on matters, but the father and mother must make the final decisions. This sounds reasonable. It lets Mother know she is part of the final decision, but it also allows Father to hear input from his fiancee, who will shortly be stepmother with more responsibility for the child. 

He also ruled (2) the child gets to make the decision on what to call his father’s finance. This also sounds reasonable. So long as no one is forcing the boy to call either of these ladies “Mom,” let the boy, in consultation with both ladies, determine what to call them. 

“At this challenging point in his growth and development, he certainly does not need his parents, or a stepparent, or the court, hoisting further unnecessary burdens upon his fragile shoulders by micromanaging his words and thoughts, or commanding him how to address his stepparent in order to please his mother or father.”

A judge not wanting to micromanage words and thoughts. This is refreshing.



  1. The judge's ruling seems fair. I was curious about why the mother didn't receive primary physical custody. I could never be a lawyer, Dena. Admiring you!

    1. That's all of the story I know about. Yes, it does make a person curious. Being a lawyer has its moments, that's for sure. Thanks for stopping by!