Custody agreements spell out very specific terms for how and when non-custodial parents interact with their children, but the relationship between parent and child is never an exact science. For example, a custody agreement dictates how many days per week, month or year a non-custodial parent has with his or her child. Anything in addition to that is typically at the discretion of the custodial parent. However, non-custodial parents are usually allowed to keep in constant contact with their kids through phone calls, emails and social media apps. They are also allowed to attend their children's school and extra-curricular activities unless a restraining order prohibits them from being within a certain distance of the other parent.
Having said that, many people have witnessed angry, confrontational parents who don't quite seem to understand that winning isn't everything. It's bad enough when these parents publicly berate their own children, but some of them also harass other kids, their parents, teachers and coaches. Having to co-parent with such an individual can be downright frustrating, especially when others expect you to do something about it. Then again, maybe they're not wrong, considering the effect this behavior is having on your child. The courts, after all, strive to make decisions in the child's best interests, which is ultimately greater than the rights of either parent.
This matter has certainly been brought before the courts in cases like D.W. v. M.W., in which a mother asked to have the father banned from their son's Little League games due to “inappropriate public criticizing and disparaging of the coach's baseball-related decisions and abilities in an embarrassing and demeaning manner”. In this case, the father wasn't accused of berating the child, but his comments to the coach were allegedly being repeated by their daughter, and being remarked upon by the other parents. She also accused the father of publicly embarrassing the coach on Facebook, thereby making things even more embarrassing and awkward for the children.
Rather than dragging things out in a series of hearings, the judge took the diplomatic approach of laying down a set of rules that both parties should adhere to during their children's activities. These rules include sensible codes of conduct such as not publicly demeaning or harassing their own child, or anyone else's child. If a parents has a problem with a coach or official's decision, he must address it privately rather than publicly demeaning that person. Both parents should also maintain civility, and respect the fact that children and their parents should not be witnesses to their domestic dispute. By laying down such rules, the judge gave both parents a chance to make positive changes without putting them through a lengthy custody dispute. That, more than anything else, is likely to cause further tension and financial hardship for the parents, thereby hurting the children. This approach doesn't always work, but it is a sensible first step in cases where relatively good parents sometimes make bad judgment calls.
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