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How time can affect child custody, parenting disputes

The first time parents find themselves in court or at the mediation table to discuss matters related to child custody, they can be scared, angry and quite defensive.

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However, over time and the course of the many discussions about child custody and parental rights, it is not surprising if the stances of parents soften a bit or priorities change. As is the case with many other parenting matters, time can prove to be an effective problem solver.

For example, readers may be aware of the arguments and mud-slinging that for years has surrounded the child custody battle between Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston, the father of her 7-year old son.

The pair became parents when they were teenagers and after their son was born, the two battled publicly for custody. Ugly accusations from both sides made the battle that much more contentious. Ultimately, Palin was awarded primary custody. Since then, Johnston has been fighting to secure more custody.

Now, it seems as though the parents have been able to come to more stable ground in terms of custody. A judge recently awarded Johnston joint custody and the two will now be co-parenting their son.

The response to the most recent development was noticeably less contentious than it may have been in previous years. Both Palin and Johnston expressed their satisfaction with the fact that their son will now have a relationship with both parents, which they believe is in his best interests.

This story should remind us that time and space can give people a different perspective on a complicated situation. While initial discussions can be raw and emotional, the passage of time can make people more levelheaded. Over time, parents can work on their parenting skills so that they are in a better position to take on custody. Alternatively, they might get an idea of how difficult it is to be a primary caregiver and decide that having a co-parent might be a good idea.

Time won't fix every problem that parents struggle with, but it can give people some breathing room and the opportunity to reassess their situation and the needs of their child.

Source: People Magazine, "Bristol Palin Weighs in on Child Custody Battle with Levi Johnston: 'I Did Not Lose'," Tierney McAfee, Feb. 25, 2016

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