When a divorce case involves custody issues, most of the focus of the case is on the children. What is more important to a divorcing parent than their children? While the divorce issues are mainly about the children, you should not involve the children in the divorce because it is very hurtful to them. Another reason why it’s important not to involve the children is because it will reflect very poorly on you to the court. If you want a judge to yell at you, involve your children inappropriately in your case. Otherwise, just don’t do it.
What specific actions do you need to avoid?
1. Don’t talk to your children about the divorce.
Turn to a friend or counselor. Children tend to internalize what they hear and tend to blame themselves. You don’t need to complain to the children about what you think of the judge or your ex’s lawyer. You should do your best to leave the children out of it as much as you can.
2. Don’t use your children as spies.
Don’t interrogate your children. They’re smart and they know what you’re doing. They’ll feel that you are trying to make them betray the other parent. Remember, your children love both of their parents, as they should.
3. Don’t disparage your ex.
Your children love both parents and when you disparage your ex, you’re hurting your child. I’ve heard it said that if you feel tempted to badmouth your ex, imagine slapping your child because it has the same effect.
4. Don’t blame your financial situation on your ex.
Don’t tell the children you would like to buy them more but you can’t because your ex isn’t paying child support or because you have to pay child support to your ex. This gives the children the message that they are a burden and it also disparages your ex. See #3 above.
5. Don’t make plans during your ex’s time with the children without their permission.
Doing so sets the children up for disappointment and makes your children feel conflicted.
6. Don’t ask your children to ask permission to stay with you during their time to visit with your ex.
This makes children feel conflicted. You shouldn’t make them choose. You need to work out plans with your ex.
7. Don’t send messages or child support checks through your children.
You are adults who need to learn to communicate well with one another and without involving the children unnecessarily.
8. Don’t tell your children that your ex caused the divorce.
This hurts your children and makes them feel as though they should pick sides.
9. Don’t bribe your children.
Don’t start bribing them with lavish gifts. The court will see right through this.
10. Don’t make your children pick sides.
Your children should feel safe to love both parents.
You see, it is really very simple. Don’t involve your children in your divorce. Keep it on a very strict, “need to know” basis with very little actually needing to be known. Keep your children happy. Keep the court happy and keep your ex out of it by not giving an entry point.
Focus on the children but don’t drag them into it.