There is a common tendency for divorcing parents and even angry, protective friends and family involved in the divorce proceeding or custody battle to join in a war of sorts against the other spouse using the children.  Using the children or allowing your children to be used as a weapon against your spouse can be devastating not only to your spouse but to your court case, you and especially your child.  As the divorcing parent, it is your duty to protect your children from the following common behaviors by either stopping the behavior or asking for Court’s intervention if your spouse is behaving in this manner or allowing these tactics.

  • Don’t discuss or allow others to discuss your spouse negatively around the child
  • Don’t use the child as a messenger for your spouse
  • Don’t burden the child with financial issues caused by the separation
  • Don’t interrogate the child or constantly pressure the child to find out information about the other parent
  • Unless there is a valid safety issue, do not unilaterally stop contact between the child and your spouse
  • Unless there is a valid safety issue, encourage regular contact and activities between the child and the spouse that occurred prior to the separation
  • Don’t discuss adult matters with the child including such topics as adultery, addictions, alternative lifestyles and recent arguments
  • Avoid discussing the specifics of your legal battle in the presence of the children, especially talking on the phone to others such as your attorney while the children are nearby
  • Don’t use the child to deliver child support, alimony payments or bills during visitation exchanges
  • Don’t interfere with your child’s visitation time with your spouse by constantly calling and texting
  • Don’t bribe or threaten to take away things for your child to take your side in the divorce
  • Try not to disturb the normal routines and activities of the child prior to the divorce
  • Don’t blame the child for the divorce
  • Continue to spend quality time with your children.  Your children likely need to see the healthiest side of you.  They need more time, more hugs, more laughs, more smiles than ever before.
  • If possible, try to discuss the divorce in a peaceful manner with your spouse and children present.  If this is not possible, consider family counseling
  • Err on the side of counseling.  Some children and adults of divorce can successfully go through a divorce without counseling but it is better to have the extra support at least on standby.

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