Back when I was a family law attorney, I sometimes taught a “pro se education” class at the court, which was mandatory in the state I practiced in for people going through a divorce without an attorney. One of the issues that I covered in the class was the standard interim order that is issued in every divorce that involves children in that state. This order includes the requirement that neither parent disparage the other parent in front of the children.
The explanation I gave about why this part of the order is so important is that children automatically understand that they are created by both of their parents, 50% one parent and 50% the other. To disparage the other parent disparages that child. If you call your soon-to-be ex-wife a scumbag, you are calling your child a scumbag. It is confusing and hurtful for children, and it often backfires. It backfires because a child typically becomes defensive of the disparaged parent – and of course they would, they are essentially defending themselves.
Which brings us to Sarah Palin and the concern that she and/or her family members engaged in “emotional child abuse,” to such a stunning degree that the judge presiding over the McCann/Wooten divorce threatened to give residential custody to Michael Wooten if the disparagement continued.
Via Newsweek on September 9, 2008, by way of TPM:
In an order signed Jan. 31, 2006, which granted Palin’s sister and Wooten a final divorce decree, Judge Suddock continued to express concern about attacks by Palin’s family on Wooten. The judge even threatened to curb Palin’s sister’s child custody rights if family criticism of Wooten continued.
Based on what Newsweek reports later on in the article, the judge didn’t just threaten to “curb” those custody rights, the judge threatened to order the children into Michael Wooten’s residential custody if the “emotional child abuse” continued. The exact role played by Sarah Palin isn’t clear from what Newsweek reports, but it does sound like the Court determined that there was a concerted effort by her family to disparage Mike Wooten in front of the children.
Read more of this post