October 1, 2010

Tips for Custodial Parents

Posted in Child Support, Custody tagged , at 3:08 pm by demetriagraves

As a family law attorney, I often get asked advice on what is appropriate to tell the kids regarding, divorce, custody and child support. Deciding what you should or should not tell the kids you have custody of is very simple. It requires you to keep in mind what is healthy for your children and what they really need to know. Reasons for the separation and divorce of their parents is not something that children need to know. Especially if the circumstances were painful for either parent. Far too many parents use their ex’s flaws to drive a wedge between them and the children. They fail to recognize that this doesn’t just hurt their ex, it can have a lasting impact on their kids emotional well being.
Divorce and the court proceedings are not information that kids need to be privy to. Should your child question you about things that happen, be firm in telling them that the divorce is between you and your ex and not something they need to have details on. Not only is this the “right” way to handle it, most judges will warn the parents against saying things which may result in alienation.
Child support should never be discussed with your kids. That is a financial issue that should be left to the adults. You would not be likely to sit and discuss a cut in your wages with a child, why should you feel that telling them support was not paid is any different? Using potentially harmful information to turn your child against the non-custodial parent can be damaging. Furthermore, child support is the monetary way in which courts insist the other parent pay to help with their needs. It is not, nor should it ever be treated as payment to see their children.
Any derogatory comments about the other parent should not be said in front of the children you share. Just because the marriage did not last, does not mean that you have the right to turn kids against the other parent. While you may briefly get some enjoyment out of this, ultimatley this can put you in a less favorable light in everyone’s eyes.
Sadly, many divorced parents use their children as weapons against the other parent. They encourage them to take sides, wanting the child’s devotion to them to be a slap in the face to their ex. It is so important for custodial parents to take the high road and encourage a healthy relationship between their children and the other parent. Hurt feelings and bitterness should be put aside in order to make the best decisions for your children.
As a family law attorney I always work toward the outcome which is going to be best for the kids and having the parents at war with one another doesn’t help anyone. If you are uncertain about the best way to move forward no matter what your custody situation is, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I offer a free confidential initial consultation where you can get all your questions answered.
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