Parties are often so stressed during divorce or child custody/parentage proceedings that they fail to see how deeply their children may be impacted by their actions. This oversight can have detrimental consequences in the bringing up of children in a multi-family home. However, there are certain protections that you can afford your children to try and assure that they are as least “damaged” as possible by this process. A few suggestions regarding same are as follows:
(1) Be mindful of your children while reviewing drafts of your Parenting Agreements/Allocation Judgments. Include language that is intended to protect your children’s feelings and emotions. Suggest that language is added where the parties are prohibited from using the minor children as “messengers” or where the minor children are precluded from accepting and turning over child support payments between the parties.
(2) Include language regarding no disparagement of the minor children’s parents, both by the parties and by third parties. This ensures that parents are responsible if a third party disparages another parent.
(3) Include language regarding prohibiting corporal punishment, and precluding third parties from same. This, again, makes the parents accountable for what punishment methods will be used by third parties when the children are not in the parties’ care, as well. Parties may also want to include the alternative punishment methods that they prefer be utilized by both parents, to take a united front approach.
(4) Put in language which precludes the parties from discussing litigation, court, or the Judge’s recommendations/orders with the minor child, to ensure the children feel a sense of security and remain uninvolved, and don’t allow third parties to discuss these things in ear shot of the children.
Many children go through the divorce or custody process, and do just fine. Those children have mindful parents who are exceptionally careful regarding how they treat their children during the process and what information is divulged. Including some of these parameters into a judgment for later enforcement is a good idea, for extra protection.