Should a Court Protect a Child from a Not so Great Parent?

Virtual Round Table is a new podcast with Stephen Krasner, guest blogger for Huffington Post, and Zena Crenshaw-Logal, J.D.

Zena, around time marker 8:30 asks Stephen whether the court is “erring on the side of caution” and whether or not the court is justified when they create delays in order to keep a mother away from their child, if they are perceived as being a not so great mother. Her example was a mother who was alleged to not make very good cookies and to read terrible bedtime stories to her child.

My response to Zena would be that there are specific types of harm that a court can protect a child from, and a not so great mother, is not one of those types of harm. I would agree with Stephen in that the court would not be protecting the child but instead hurting the child.

The podcast is about making the family courts more pro-family. A good start for these courts would be to start protecting children’s time with both of their parents, and to start protecting parents from the animus of the other parent.

A good rule would be if the allegations do not rise to the level of a crime that the court could otherwise hold a married parent guilty for then the allegation does not belong in a court of law.

There are going to be parents who are not the best characters. This just is not something that the court should be regulating. Communities already regulate parenting that goes beyond what is acceptable and that is through the child abuse laws. When you allow a court to function below those standards you get all of these horror stories and these unpredictable results. And having your time with your child stolen from you by the court system you thought was there to protect you and your child is just not acceptable!

Having your time stolen from you with your child is, as the Supreme Court puts it, one of the worst punishments a person can suffer. How do you think the child feels having one of their parents stolen from them?

I remember going through this when everyone was telling me to change, do things different, dress different, say things different, be different…the attorneys, friends, anyone who had gone through it. The next thing I knew, I had become a stranger to my children. I learned that my children knew me for who I was before, flaws and all.

So the next time you wonder whether a family court of law is doing some godly or honorable work taking children away from their fit and loving parents, you might want to read the single parent home statistics and the fatherless statistics here.