With the holidays and 2012 in the rearview mirror, many of us have set
resolutions and goals for ourselves for 2013 in the interests of happiness
and personal development. For some, the attainment of those objectives
involves the dissolution of their marriage.
However, with an eye on a brighter future and the fair distribution of
marital assets the future of the most precious and valuable marital asset
is often treated the most poorly: the children.
As a trained divorce mediator and divorce attorney for over thirty years,
I’ve found that minor children are the subject of serious contention
and are often used as pawns in the marital conflict which always negatively
affects the child’s well being and emotional maturation process.
Here are five guidelines for parents to consider in regard to the treatment
of their minor children when going through a divorce proceeding.
Consult a therapist
or trained mediator to discuss the best, most age-appropriate way to break the news of divorce
to your children. This therapist should be an objective, non-partisan
third party concerned only for the emotional well-being of his or her
Inform your children together as a united front so they know each parent has an equal part in the dissolution
of the marriage (details are not necessary) and know that it’s okay
for both parents to be loved and respected. This also assists in letting
the children know that it’s about you and not about them.
Be respectful when speaking about your former spouse to your children. This keeps your
children out of the line of fire and on the sidelines with much of their
Protect your children, keeping your parental role. The children don’t need to be spoken
to like a coworker, friend, or your local bartender when it comes to talking
about your divorce. They don’t need to know who’s getting
to keep the toaster or the intricacies of the dissatisfying sex life you
had with your former spouse.
“Am I acting out of hurt or am I acting in the best interests of
my children?” Does the custody and control you seek reflect your need to show your former
spouse who’s boss or is it truly in the best interests of your children?
Long drawn out custody battles can be emotionally exhausting for you and
the children and can cause the waste of hundreds of thousands of dollars
that could be going toward your child’s college fund.
Children do not deserve to become pieces of ammunition during a
divorce. By allowing them to be impartial observers; you’re giving them
the chance at not only a childhood, but a well-adjusted adulthood.