Friday, April 2, 2010

What Divorce Law is Doing to Marriage Part 28

More from the words of Jed Abraham

The evidence in this case presents portraits of two parents who have been closely involved in the care of their children. The children’s teachers testified to Wife’s regular presence at parent-teacher meetings and to her concern for the children’s progress at school. The children’s pediatrician also testified that Wife timely brought the children to his office for regular checkups and she evinced a serious attitude towards the children’s health.

Until the parties’ separation, Husband was also involved with the children’s health and education. On occasion, he brought the children to the pediatrician when they were ill, and he testified to helping them with their homework on the evenings to helping them with their homework on the evenings that he came home from work early enough to do so. Husband has also spent considerable time with the children on weekends, taking them to church and to various recreational activities. Since the parties’ separation, however, Husband spent significantly less time with the children than before.

The Parties each called an expert mental health witness. Dr. Frieda Karl testified that Wife brought the children to her for a consultation upon suspicion that Husband had abused them: specifically, that Husband fondled and exposed himself to them when he administered their baths. Dr. Karl examined the minor children, employing projective drawings made by the minor children, employing projective drawings made by the minor children as well as “anatomically correct” dolls of her design and manufacture. She also administered a penile plethysmograph to Husband; the results indicated a slightly positive reading within the margin of error of the test. Her conclusions were that the minor children’s drawings, their response to the anatomically correct dolls, and Husband’s score on the penile plethysmograph were suggestive that Husband had initiated some untoward activity with the minor children and that such activity, if continued, would constitute a serious endangerment of the minor children’s health and welfare.

Wife testified that during the course of the marriage, she had been the primary caretaker of the minor children. She limited and arranged her hours of employment so that she could see the minor children off to school in the morning. She arranged for baby sitters to be with the minor children during the two hours or so between the time they returned from school and she got home from work, and she did the regular household shopping, cooking, and cleaning, aided by a maid. Other witnesses for Wife-some of the minor children’s friends’ mothers-confirmed that Wife was generally attentive to the needs of the minor children.

More on Your Custody Hearing on next summary.