Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren were seen together this week, but not for the reason some may assume. The couple was spotted at a youth soccer game with their children, seemingly putting aside their infamous high conflict divorce to cheer on the little athletes. This is a far cry from the videos and pictures that hit the net in 2009, posting news of their split and Woods' many, many infidelities. Although the couple arrived at different times at the soccer game and left together, reconciliation does not appear to be a possible future.
So what happened? What has prompted this change from the alleged 'post-Thanksgiving golf club incident' to co-cheering at a soccer game? Well for one, substantial time hasgone by and another factor is likely their family law matter is proceeding.
And while you can divorce your spouse, once you are a parent, you are a parent forever.
According to Fox News, Nordegren and Woods have split legal custody of their children, but Nordegren has sole physical custody. In Canada, this arrangement is known as joint custody, with primary residence. More specifically, the children primarily reside with Nordegren, and have access with Woods, and both parents share in all major decisions pertaining to the children.
When high conflict cases involve young children as was found in this case, parties need to be particularly mindful of the effect that conflict can have, not only on the well-being of children, but consequently on each parties' claim for custody and access.
In family law matters, parties often confuse issues with their spouse, and the reasons that prompted the separation or divorce, resulting in the respective parties' inability to be a caring and loving parent to their children. Although the two issues may often overlap, by no means does a 'bad spouse' equate to a 'bad parent.'
In Canada, courts will make orders regarding custody and access in accordance with 'the best interests of the child'. Based on this principle, courts will deny claims for sole custody, where the basis for such a claim is deeply rooted in the parties' inability to be a good husband or wife. Many will agree that Woods makes anything but a trustworthy spouse, but the reality is he may still be a great father, which could support the claim that joint custody is in the best interests of the children.
Whether genuine or not, Nordegren's and Woods' newfound tolerance of each other's company may very well be for the sake of co-parenting their children, as a result of their joint custody. Could it be possible that Woods is as great of a father as he is a golfer? Unfortunately for Nordegren, Woods just can't be good at everything....