Access to, and Protection of, Children
Ever since history has been recorded, the issue of who gets access to the baby has captivated the interest of the courts. In King Solomon’s day the custody battle was between two women who claimed to be the child’s mother. Solomon gave the child to the mother who was most willing to give him up to the other woman in order that he might live. Today, it is more likely to be a battle between divorcing parents who claim ownership of the child. Rarely is a judge as courageous as was King Solomon, preferring instead to split the baby in half. Sometimes the battleground is drawn between the state and the biological parent. The state has the right to enter into a dispute only when it is necessary to protect the child. In most cases, where parents cannot decide custody and arrangements for each to have access to the child by themselves, family court will intervene and require a psychologist or other mental health professionals to assist in making the final decision which almost always is a recommendation that both parents stop fighting and learn to share. Rarely will the state, through its social service agencies as described in the next chapter, act by itself unless the lethal danger to the child is unmistakable. Even in some of the most horrendous abuse cases, the state is hesitant to interfere with parental rights.
KeywordsDomestic Violence Battered Woman Abusive Parent Joint Custody Abuse Allegation
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