When a divorce is ongoing, especially when there is litigation involved, it is easy for parents to lose sight of what is important. In custody battles, often one of the most emotionally charged aspects of divorce, many parents forget to focus on what is in the best interest of the child and instead focus on winning. Because a parent may use any little thing as a weapon in custody battles, parents are warned to be on their absolute best behavior.
One New York dad saw firsthand how every parenting choice can be scrutinized in court:
- According to a New York Post article, David Schorr is facing a court motion for violating the terms of his visitation order because he refused to take his son to McDonald’s.
- During his Tuesday night visitation, Schorr intended to take his 4-year-old to their usual restaurant, but the child threw a tantrum and demanded McDonald’s. In response, Schorr gave his son the option of anywhere but McDonalds — or no dinner.
- According to Schorr, the child chose no dinner. When the child’s mother reported the incident to their court-appointed psychiatrist, Dr. Marilyn Schiller filed a report with the court saying that Schorr was incapable of caring for the child and should be denied his weekend visitation. Schorr claims his only intention was not to reward his son’s behavior.
While Schorr’s intentions may have been good, and there may be much more going on than the news reported, this story serves as a warning for all parents going through divorce. Evaluate your parenting actions in light of what is in the child’s best interest. Denying a child food or other basic necessities almost never is. Also, consider how the other side may view your actions. In addition, strictly adhere to any parenting orders, even when you disagree, and if you have questions about your custody or visitation, ask your divorce lawyer for clarification.
Jacqueline Newman joined Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP in 1998 and is now the managing partner of the firm. Ms. Newman’s practice consists of litigation, collaborative law and mediation. She specializes in complex high net worth matrimonial cases and also in negotiating prenuptial agreements. Read more about Jacqueline Newman.