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Does Judaism have an opinion about joint custody of young children?


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Rabbi Shlomo Chein: Welcome. I'll be with you in a moment...what's on your mind?

Kenny: My exwife and I share custody of our children

Kenny: When we got married we felt that this was for ever. By the time we divorced we had grown far apart and now I'm the "bad guy" and she tells them horrible things about me that are not true

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: so who has custudy of the children now

Kenny: she as custodial custody and we share 50/50 Legal custody.

Kenny: I feel that each weekend they spend with me I have to "deprogram" the malicious misinformation she has feed them.

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: do you realize that your dispute with your wife is having a terrible effect on the kids?

Kenny: yes i realize it and i want to work on making it easier on them.

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: I cant really advise without being intimately familiar with the exact circumstances, but i would like to share with you a thought (you might not like it, but I think it is something to consider)...

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: before I give you the advice let me preface with a story

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: There is a famous tale1 of two women who came to king Solomon. They had spent the night in a hotel, each sleeping in a bed with her baby. In the morning one mother awoke to the horor that she accdientally smothered her baby during the night and killed him.

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: Being without a baby was too much for her to handle so she took the baby of the other woman and put her dead baby on the other woman's bed

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: Now they were both in front of King Solomon each claiming the living baby was hers

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: king solomon listened and then requested his servants to bring a sword to the courtroom. He then instructed the mother holding the baby to hand over the baby and he would cut the baby in half, and each mom would get hafl a baby

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: one mother said "that's a great a idea". The other mother screamed "NO! Give her the baby, as long as you don't kill my child"

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: King Solomon said "that is the true mother"

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: this story is often related to portray the wisdom of King Solomon

All names, places, and identifying information have been changed or deleted in order to protect the privacy of the questioners. In order to preserve authenticity, the chat sessions have been posted with a minimum of editing. Please excuse typographical errors, missing punctuation, and/or grammatical mistakes which naturally occur in the course of informal chat sessions.


  • 1. Kings I 3:16-27


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Child's Bill of Rights protects against such behavior.

Posted by: Van Olmstead, Wilmington, DE on Jan 28, 2007

Some of what it guarantees:

1. The right to a continuing relationship with both parents.

3. The right to continuing care and guidance from both parents.

4. The right to know and appreciate what is good in each parent without one parent degrading the


5. The right to express love, affection and respect for each parent without having to stifle that love

because of fear of disapproval by the other parent.

6. The right to know that the parents' decisions to divorce was not the responsibility of the child.

7. The right not to be a source of argument between the parents.

8. The right to honest answers to questions about the changing family relationships.

9. The right to be able to experience regular and consistent contact with both parents and the right to

know the reason for any cancellation of time or change of plans.

10. The right to have a relaxed, secure relationship with both parents without being placed in a position

to manipulate one parent against the other.

Editor's Comment

The scholar did not discuss children's rights, he was encouraging the father to think about and take to heart his children's best interests, rather than pursuing his own interests at the expense of his children's happiness and (possibly) their emotional wellbeing.
Son of King David, and succeeded him on the throne of Israel in the year 836 BCE. he was the wisest man to ever live. He built the first Holy Temple and authored several books of the Bible.