It’s About What’s Best for Your Child, Stupid

by Dana Boyle on June 29, 2011

Yesterday I was in court waiting for a hearing for my client and as I waited I observed another hearing.  A father brought a motion asking a commissioner to order that his child attend the school in his district in the town where he and his ex-wife, the mother of the child, live.  His argument was that the mother wants the child to go to the school in her district, ten blocks from her house because she doesn’t drive.  He then attacked her by arguing that her only reason for wanting to enroll their to-be kindergartener in the elementary school near her house was because she had lost her license in an DUI action years ago and never pursued getting her license back – which clearly made her a bad mother in his eyes.

Photo by Chris Roll

The mother assured the court that wherever the child has to be, she has the ability to get her there.  Her concern had more to do with the father and step-mother inching her out of the child’s life and making it more difficult for the mother to be involved with their 4 year old.  She underlined for the court that she is the one who typically cares for the small child while the father is at work, and that it makes more sense for the child to be close to the mother during school for that reason.  Of course, the father countered with that his other child can walk with the smaller child and that his new wife can drive the child as well.

In this totally ridiculous banter back and forth the guardian ad litem punted and said, “Well, it’s a coin toss…flip a coin.  I guess the only reason for it to be the mother’s school district is because mom doesn’t drive,”  I literally sat on my hands and bit my tongue.  I wanted to yell out, “Duh, how about asking which school is in the best interest of the child?”

After some arguing back and forth between the attorneys about things that had nothing to do with the child, the commissioner finally said what I was screaming out in my mind, “Here’s a thought?  How about you two think about which school is the best school?  Maybe that’s in the best interest of the child.”

HELLO!!!  Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner!

At that point, the commissioner said what we all knew, which was that the school in the mother’s district is known to be better, and that he would choose that school if the parents couldn’t agree.  The father’s attorney immediately asked for a de novo hearing with the judge – meaning that he wanted the judge to decide since he thought the commissioner got it wrong.

It makes me sad when parents get lost in their own self-interests (read selfishness) and forget the most important person in their parenting decisions:  THE CHILD.  Being willing to arrive at an absurd result that does not serve your child simply because you are selfish (meaning you care more about you and what is convenient for you) and you don’t like your ex is not in line with the love that you are or the love that you have for your child.  Ask yourself what your child deserves then make your decisions.  Forget how you feel about your ex or what works easiest for you or your new flame – because you are copping out and blowing it for your kid.

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