Robert Emery, a psychologist, author, and director of the Center for Children, Families, and the Law at the University of Virginia, has for years advised divorced and unmarried parents to settle custody conflicts through mediation and to avoid litigation. Once you give judges power to craft a child’s schedule, he argues, they’re going to wield it. “Judges,” Emery wrote in the New York Times in 2014 , “routinely decide where the children of divorced parents will attend school, worship and receive medical care; judges may even decide whether they play soccer or take piano lessons.”
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