Friday, April 2, 2010

What Divorce Law is Doing to Marriage Part 29

More from the words of Jed Abraham

Wife also testified to the conflicts that prevailed during the marriage between Husband and her concerning the upbringing of the minor children. Husband took the children to a church which did not meet with Wife’s approval. He also occasionally took the minor children, over Wife’s objection, to a pediatrician other than the one whom Wife had selected. Husband differed from Wife in his attitude to discipline, Wife favoring clear rules and punishments for their violation, and Husband favoring a less structured approach. Husband and wife also differed in their approach to assisting the minor children with schoolwork, Wife insisting the minor children must be responsible for their own homework on their own, and Husband readily responding to the minor children requests for assistance to complete their assignments. Wife further testified that she did not consider a continuation of these conflicts to be beneficial to the children.

Dr. Robert Young, clinical psychologist, testified on behalf of Husband. He prepared a detailed report summarizing the results of psychological tests which were administered under his direction to the parties and the minor children. He acknowledged that these tests cannon answer the question, “which parent would be the better custodian, “ of the minor children, but he asserted that they can indicate which parent appears to be better suited, in terms of his or her personality traits and behaviors, in terms of his or her personality traits and behaviors, to meeting the minor children’s developmental demands. He also observed and evaluated the personal interactions of the minor children with both Husband and Wife. He found no evidence that Husband actually abused the children. He concluded that, as between Husband and Wife, Husband possesses in greater measure the requisite amounts of parental attentiveness, patience and temperateness, and that Husband would be the preferred custodian for the minor children, although his first preference is for a joint custodial arrangement in which both Husband and Wife would share the custody of the minor children.

Husband testified that although he generally returns home from work at 7 PM, he cannot always leave work to assure his arrival at that time, and that his work also requires that he travel away from home for significant periods of time. He acknowledged that although his residence is in the same school district as Wife’s, it is far from the residences of the minor children’s playmates and lacks many of the amenities of Wife’s residence such as a backyard and a bedroom for each of the minor children and a separate bathroom for them.

Neither party called the minor children to testify, and neither party requested the court to interview the minor children in chambers. Although pursuant to the Divorce Act, the court has discretion on its own motion to interview the minor children in chambers, the court declined to do so, it being the court’s practice to respect the apparent to do so, it being the court’s practice to respect the apparent wishes of the parties to shield the minor children from the potential stress of exposure at trial to the conflict of their parents in the matter of their custody. The court also notes that the tender ages of the minor children would render their opinions and desires as to their future custody relatively inconclusive with the court.

More on “Your Custody Hearing” on next summary.