Do we split the baby?

Many people are familiar with the biblical story of King Solomon and his wise distribution of justice. The story goes like this…two women came before the King with each claiming the right to a baby. The reality was that one of the women had her child die and was now trying to “steal” this baby from the rightful mother. In his wisdom, Solomon proposed to cut the child in half giving one half to each mother. Obviously that would result in the death of the child. The woman who was trying to “steal” the child concurred with the King’s judgment while the real mother objected and offered for the child to live with the other woman instead of having it die. The King recognized that the true mother would want to preserve the life of the child and awarded the child to the rightful mother.

This is where we get the term “splitting the baby.” It references the equitable act of giving some to each side. However, is splitting the baby the proper way we should consider custody cases? Is the goal/objective to give each parent a part of the baby or to give the baby a chance to live and thrive? If we enact King Solomon’s wisdom then maybe only one parent should be the primary parent. Is this fair to the child? To the parents? Do we trust judges to make such decisions? While we often say we want to split the baby, do we really like such a result? So many questions arise that compel us to really deeply think about the unintended consequences with such decisions.

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