Is “custody” a dirty word?

On Behalf of | Sep 17, 2021 | Child Custody

Many issues will be up for dispute during a Texas divorce. Some are more contentious than others. Those involving children can be the most challenging. People tend to focus on their goals in the case, and when child custody is a concern, it is easy to forget that the objective should be serving the child’s needs. Factors that are frequently ignored are sometimes the most important in reaching an acceptable outcome. One is terminology that the parents use during the case.

Experts believe that the word “custody” could be problematic

Although it is one of the most commonly used words in the divorce lexicon, some believe that the word “custody” puts parents in a position where they are ready for battle. The implication is that the sides are either winners or losers and that the child is a piece of property that one or the other will be awarded.

People in the middle of divorce often feel a loss of control. This terminology can exacerbate those negative feelings and stoke acrimony. Consequently, the case can be extended, costing more time and money while failing to reach an acceptable solution that benefits the child.

Rather than using the word “custody,” parents are encouraged to choose something less threatening and antagonistic such as “parenting responsibilities.” For other potentially argumentative words in a family law case, “visitation” can be replaced by “parenting time.” If parents are under the impression that they will either win or lose, then it tends to increase the intensity and complicate the process for child custody and other aspects that need to be settled.

Reaching an acceptable solution often requires experienced help

Unfortunately, children tend to get caught in the middle of a divorce. Their best interests are a primary focus for the court, and parents should be cognizant of it. A crucial part is realizing how to avoid or reduce conflict. Word choices can be an understated but no less important area to understand. For these and other circumstances in a family law case, it may be useful to have experienced assistance from the start.