Remember that everything in a divorce is negotiable. We would certainly hope that, through negotiation, the parents themselves could come up with their own solutions for their children. Who better to decide the fate of children than their own parents? Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen because we see thousands of cases in courtrooms in California every day where they’re fighting over the kids.
The legal test the court applies is based on what is in the best interest of the children. It’s not about what mom wants or needs, and it’s not about what dad wants or needs. It’s about what the children need so that they can thrive.
And what happens in divorce negotiations, what happens in the court system, is that we all invest energy in trying to come up with a parenting plan that allows our children to grow and to thrive as people. We are trying to set up the best living environment for the children. We are trying to create the best social environment for the children. We are trying to facilitate a schedule that allows the children to be with each parent as much time as possible, while still allowing them to live all of the other elements of their lives. We really want to fashion a parenting plan that creates the greatest environment physically, emotionally, and intellectually for the kids that we can. That’s what we’re after.
John Harding is the principal of the law firm of Harding & Associates in Northern California. He practices family law litigation and divorce mediation exclusively.