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When Your Ex Accuses You of Being Hysterical, Even Though Your Worries Are Perfectly Reasonable


If you didn’t disapprove of your ex-spouse’s behavior on some level, you probably would not have gotten divorced.  Many divorced couples are misaligned when it comes to how much caution to exercise with their children.  Aside from legally mandated safety requirements, the definitions of “dangerous” and “safe” are open to interpretation.  For example, when is it safe for a child to ride a bicycle without training wheels?  At what age can a child cut his or her own portion of meat with a steak knife at the dinner table?  It is much easier to reach a compromise on these issues, or at least deal with them on a case-by-case basis, when you are in an intact marriage.  When you are going through a divorce and trying to draft a parenting plan, your spouse can exaggerate your carelessness (or, as the case may be, your excessive worrying) and use it against you as an argument for why you should get less parenting time.  Except in cases of true negligence or incapacitating anxiety about children’s well-being, the fact that you worry too much or too little should not count against you.  Contact a South Florida child custody lawyer to help you resolve your parenting plan disputes.

Is an Overly Concerned Parent More Dangerous Than Secondhand Smoke?

Rachael and Michael Fuller married shortly before their son’s birth and 2006 and divorced three years later.  Both parents wanted to be the child’s primary residential parent.  The court considered the factors for determining the child’s best interest and saw that both parents were capable of providing adequate care for the child.  Specifically, both parents had an emotional bond with the child and promoted a relationship between him and the other parent.  Only one factor weighed in Michael’s father, and based on it, the trial court awarded primary residential custody to Michael.  That factor was, in the words of the trial court’s decision, Rachael’s tendency to “draw hysterical and unreasonable inferences from innocuous facts.”  Based on that factor alone, the court designated Michael as the primary residential parent.

Rachael appealed the decision; she argued that her so-called “unreasonable inferences” were legitimate worries and the “innocuous facts” were real dangers for the child.  For example, Rachael’s worry that the child would have access to alcohol and prescription drugs in the home was based on the fact that Michael’s liquor cabinet and medicine cabinet did not have childproof locks.  As for her worry about secondhand smoke (Michael smoked cigarettes), the child had a documented history of allergies and asthma and took medicine for both.  The appeals court reversed the trial court’s decision and remanded the case to a trial court with a different judge.

Contact an Attorney Today for Help

Attempting to tarnish your ex-spouse’s image in a child custody dispute by exaggerating minor problems or mistakes will always backfire.  Contact the Boca Raton child custody lawyers at Schwartz | White for a consultation.

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