Do words make a difference?

Will California change “custody” and “visitation” to “parenting plans?”

Will changing “custody” make a difference? Psychologists say words do make a difference. You can see from every newspaper headline that uses the word “custody”, that it is a fighting word–it always goes with “battle.” Family law killings almost always occur in custody cases. But in order to get a divorce in California, one must check a box asking that “custody” be “awarded” (after the battle, presumably) to one or both parents. Two other words go with “custody” — “win” and “lose.” Then one must also check a box referring to “visitation.” How insulting is that? If you do not have “custody” of your own children, you have “visitation.” And if you do not live full time with your children, child support agencies refer to you as an “absent” parent. One can see how the “culture of divorce” is one of aggravation and the fostering of hostilities.

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