May a Child Call a Step-Mom “Mom”?

According to a New Jersey Court, the answer is yes, a step-mom may be called “Mom” by his/her step-child. While this conclusion seems surprising at first, the Court’s focus on what is in the child’s best interest, versus the parents’ best interest is persuasive.  In its 31 page decision, the Court held that “the choice of which way to address the step-parent belongs to the child, and not to either parent.  Neither parent may force the child to either call a step-parent “Mom” or “Dad” against the child’s will, or forbid the child from doing so.”  The Court’s closing comments were equally powerful, “As a year of courtroom battle between plaintiff and defendant finally draws to a close, the time is ripe for  all adults involve in this matter to seriously consider the reality that through mutual respect, cooperation, flexibility, compromise and acceptance, they can all jointly promote the child’s best interests by introducing peace and tranquility into his young life.”  Want to read more?  Here’s the complete decision  B.S. v. T.S.