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Moms and dads often disagree in the best of circumstances. In divorce and custody situations, the disagreements can get nasty, and even petty.
A divorced New Jersey couple went to court to fight over whether taking their 11-year-old daughter to a P!nk (Pink) concert was abuse of parental discretion. The mother shares joint legal custody with the father. Mom took the daughter to a P!nk concert because the girl was an avid fan. Dad wants the court to declare that taking the girl to the concert was an age-inappropriate decision and an abuse of parental discretion.
The court disagreed that the concert was age-inappropriate, and deferred to the mother's right to exercise reasonable parental discretion.
The Fourteenth Amendment
The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects a parent's fundamental right to make decisions regarding a child's care without undue interference from the state. Courts are hesitant to intrude on a parent's rights to make parenting decisions unless there is evidence that the decision is so inappropriate that no reasonable person would agree with the choice.
The court found that parents disagreeing on how to raise a child is inevitable. As the court pointed out, parents divorced in the first place because of "irreconcilable differences." It would be ideal for parents to communicate and cooperate with each other to provide consistent rules for their children. However, when they do disagree, neither parent should try to micromanage the decision making and parental discretion of the other parent.
In comparison to Nicki Minaj or some other musicians, P!nk is about as obscene as the Easter Bunny.
The judge pointed out that P!nk's concert only had sporadic use of profanity, and the lyrics were age-appropriate for teens and pre-teens. The judge even notes that many of P!nk's songs, such as Perfect and The Great Escape, addressed important social themes that are "inherently valuable to teens and pre-teens who often grow up in a world of relentless stress, pressure, tension and self-doubt."
Ultimately, the judge found that allowing the child to attend the performance was not inappropriate or an abuse of parental discretion.
If you are involved in a custody battle and facing this issue or others, an experienced family law attorney will be able to help.