Divorce can be a frustrating, time consuming, life changing experience. For those that have children, it can be extraordinarily difficult to keep your divorce from adversely affecting your children. This Bill of Rights for Children of Divorce was put together to help parents act in the best interest of their children by M. Debra Gold, and attorney and guardian ad litem. Additional commentary is provided by William P. Millisor along with the rights.
Every child has the right to love and be loved by both parents.
Your divorce means that your child will most likely be living with one parent most of the time. Parents should not turn their divorce into a contest to get their children to "pick" them over the ex. Children should not be made to feel guilty for time spent with either parent or extended family. Children should be able to express that they want to spend time without fear of disapproval or rejection. While you may not need each other anymore, your child still needs both of their parents.
Every child has the right to parents who respect the child’s relationship with the other parent.
Your children should not be forced to listen to your complaints and criticisms of your ex. Don’t say anything in front of your child that you wouldn’t want repeated to your ex, or presented in a contempt hearing.In most divorce settlement agreements there is language to effect that you won’t disparage your ex in front of the children. This is for the child’s protection, not your ex’s, so take that provision seriously.
Every child has the right to continuing care and guidance from both parents.
Your child can benefit from the love, advice, and expertise of both you and your ex, and will be a stronger person if they can get they best from both of you. Allow your ex to be involved with school and extracurriculars, are create an environment where your child is not afraid you will get angry if she wants to talk something over with your ex instead of you.
Every child has the right to parents who treat one another with integrity and respect.
Treat your ex with respect and dignity, at least in front of the child. If absolutely necessary find means of communications and exchange that don’t involve face to face interaction.
Every child has the right to freely communicate with both parents in privacy.
Don’t obstruct your child’s access to the phone, withhold messages, or snoop through your child’s email or cellphone for communications with your ex. This kind of activity can cause distrust and hurt the child’s relationship with both parents.
Every child has the right to be free their parents’ hostilities and conflicts.
Do not bring your child into the middle of your disputes. Parents often find it tempting to bring a child into a dispute if they feel like they can gain some kind of upper hand. Your child should never feel like they have to chose sides. Disparaging your spouse put your child in an impossible position where they may not feel safe to either agree or disagree with either you or your ex.
Every child has the right to freedom from guilt or blame.
Children often need to hear that your divorce is not their fault. It is up to you to make sure you have communicated with your child about how they feel about your divorce and that you explain to them that your divorce has nothing to do with their behavior and is in now way their fault.
Every child has the right to parents who cooperate with one another when it comes to the children.
Co-parenting is a difficult but essential skill for divorced parents. Some amount of common courtesy and understanding is necessary. Remember that you will probably need an accommodation or understanding at some point as well. If you are unable to cooperate, find new methods with which you can both work.
Every child has the right to be heard.
Listen to your children and what they have to say about the parenting situation. Be honest, address their concerns, and answer their questions.
Every child has the right to live the life of a child throughout minority.
Your child should be treated like a child. When you get divorced your child does not become a best friend, travel buddy, shoulder to cry on, or man of the house. You need to continue to be a parent, and allow your child to continue being a child.
Every child has a right to a safe and secure environment in their parents’ custody.
This goes without saying. Whether you have your child 100% of the time or one weekend a month, you need to avoid the same dangers and take the same steps to protect your child as you would if you were still married.
Every child has the right to financial support from both parents.
The child support guidelines provided by the legislature determine the amount of child support, not your ex. The current guidelines provide a more standardized and rationale basis for determining child support than methods in the past. Remember that though you pay child support to your spouse, the money is for the support of your child and you have a duty to provide what you can for the child.
Source: M. Debra Gold, Bill of Rights for Children of Divorce.
SOURCE FOR POST: William P. Millisor, P.C.