When custody disputes arise, I often consider the Biblical narrative, 1 Kings 3:16-28, which tells the story of how King Solomon resolved a custody dispute of sorts between two women who lived in the same home. The women came before King Solomon, each claiming to be the mother of the same baby boy. King Solomon called for a sword and rendered his judgment: He would cut the baby in two so that each woman could receive half. The first woman did not contest Solomon’s decision, arguing that if she could not have the baby, then neither woman could. The second woman begged King Solomon to give the baby to the other woman instead of killing the baby. King Solomon declared the second woman as the infant’s true mother, reasoning that as a mother she would give up the baby if she had to in order to save his life. Continue reading
More and more women are choosing to exclusively breastfeed given the reports as to the superior health benefits, not just physically but psychologically, of breast feeding. Arranging parenting time between divorced or separated parents of a child who is still breastfeeding poses issues not just with overnight parenting time but daytime parenting time as well. Children who are exclusively breast-fed may reject a bottle. Nevertheless, there is an argument that the child should be given breast milk from a bottle during parenting time. After all, not only should the child receive the best nutrition, but also facilitating a relationship with the father at the earliest age possible is in the child’s best interest. Continue reading
In Sacklow v. Betts, a case of first impression, Hon. Marcia Silva, J.S.C. a Chancery Division judge in Middlesex County, decided that the “best interest of the child” standard applies when a considering whether to allow a transgender child to change his or her legal name.
Janet Sacklow, the child’s mother in this case, petitioned the Chancery Division to change the name of the parties’ 16 year old transgender child from Veronica to Trevor, arguing that this was in the child’s best interest because her child is transgender, identifies as a male, and has been undergoing treatment for gender dysphoria. Richard Betts, the child’s father, initially opposed the name change, but after cross examining the child, he was willing to consent to changing Veronica’s name to Trevor even though he still nonetheless expressed his concern about whether this name change was in the best interest of the child. Continue reading