A ruling is due soon on the child whose parents are in a bitter battle to determine which school she goes to. Another article in the Daily News goes into more depth on the issue with the current school district.
I previously blogged about this case where divorced parents of an 8 year girl are locked in a bitter battle over their child's schooling. There were apparently serious failings in the school district near the father where the child, Grace Yang, goes to school. It is unclear whether those failing have been addressed or not as opinions seem divided depending on whom you ask.
Rather than go into the pros and cons of this case, I wanted to use it to highlight one of the most difficult choice I think a divorced or divorcing parent can make: when to stop fighting
As a parent, you feel you know what is best for your child and it quickly becomes a cause to ensure the outcome you want for your kid. As the dispute gets more and more polarized, each party gets locked more and more into their particular desired outcome. It is a mixture of feelings; the desire to win, to champion the rightful cause, to fight the good fight, to say to your kid that you never gave up on them.
Unfortunately courts cannot fix these disputes in a real and permanent way. There will always be a good fight to fight, always another issue between parents who are so polarized.
Perhaps the biggest and hardest question of all is when does the potential or actual harm to the child outweigh the benefit from winning? Is there a point at which you can say "I will walk away and deal with a second best solution to prevent damage to my kid"?
Running out of money may force a decision like this but it is probably one any parent who loves their kid must wrestle with. Sometimes losing is winning. Not always but sometimes. In my opinion it is every parents duty to always wrestle with this issue and pick their battles and how far they will go, always mindful of their kid's mental health.
Perhaps the saddest part is that because the two sides get so polarized, they miss possible solutions that might be good enough and settle the dispute before the kid is stressed even further. Even when a third party makes a suggestion that is reasonable to everyone including the man on the street, the parties can often not back down and not think clearly.
When parents fight so bitterly over a child, some judges feel that shared custody will not work and will assign custody and decision making to one parent in an effort to reduce the number of decisions that need to be made getting turned into disputes that linger in court. No-one truly wins in these cases in my mind.
Remember by losing you can win for your child but only you can tell when that is the right thing to do.