by Chris Bodenner

A reader writes:

Looking at this as a lawyer, as opposed to my more partisan self - a self who would pay to see Sarah Palin eaten by wolves - the language you've referenced not only doesn't bother me, but is kind of appropriate.

Courts do this stuff all the time. Language that prevents the parents from trash-talking the other parent is pretty common, almost routine, in my jurisdiction (which is in Central PA).  While language in an order that deals with trash-talking grandparents is less common, given Bristol's age (19 - no longer a minor, but still basically a kid), and the fact that Sarah will be involved in this child's life pretty heavily, and the fact that she (and Levi, and Bristol, and Mercede) are all public figures at this point, adding the "publicly" language is also appropriate.

And remember, it's a reciprocal order.  Given what we know of everyone in this case, who has shown more restraint - Sarah, or Levi?  Most of the time in custody fights, taking the high road isn't only the right thing to do, it's the tactically smart thing to do.

Another lawyer writes:

Many orders in parent-child relationships contains a so-called "no disparaging comments" provisions.  In Texas, our typical provision reads: "The parties agree that they will not make disparaging remarks regarding the other party or the party's family members in the presence or within the hearing of the child." This can be done by agreement, or by permanent injunction.  And it is designed, obviously, to keep the parties from bad-mouthing each other in front of the kids.

Granted, the wording of Bristol and Levi's agreement is rather strict, prohibiting not only the disparaging remarks in front of the child, but also prohibiting public remarks whether in front of the child or not.  It goes even further by requiring that the parties not allow the child to interact with anyone making such remarks.  That's certainly not typical, but honestly, I can't say it's unwarranted given the circumstances of the case.

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