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Ensure your child's rights are kept in place in custody matters

During a divorce, it is easy to focus on how everything impacts you and your ex. What you might not automatically consider is how it affects your children. They need to be kept at the heart of any matter that involves them.

As you are going through the divorce, remember that your children have some specific rights. These have a little to do with the child custody negotiations but many of them carry over into everyday life. Here are a few fundamental rights to consider:

  • Children have the right to enjoy being a child. They shouldn't have to be involved in adult matters.
  • Children must be able to avoid conflicts. As parents, you and your ex must keep contentious matters away from them.
  • Children shouldn't be messengers. In fact, they shouldn't know about many of the things that you and your ex discuss. Instead of using them to relay messages, discuss matters directly with your ex.
  • Children deserve to have friends. Just because you divorce your ex, the children shouldn't be expected to give up their friends. Even if you move away, find ways for them to stay in touch.
  • Children can't act as therapists. Using the children, even if they are teenagers, as a sounding board can have a negative impact on them emotionally.
  • Children need a relationship with both parents. They shouldn't ever have to hear you disparage their other parent.

Promoting a healthy childhood

It is up to you and your ex to determine the best ways to promote a healthy childhood for your children. Ensuring that those rights remain intact is one of the most important things you can do. On top of that, they need stability and consistency provided in a loving environment.

Your child custody agreement should address some of the most common issues that you think you might have to deal with. Make sure it includes specific information about how communication between parents and with the children will be handled.

It is a good idea to include information about both parents respecting each other and avoiding contentious issues during events that pertain to the children. Your child's school play isn't a good time to hash out the changes that are coming up due to a holiday if you think there is a chance that it might turn into a disagreement. The schedule is another area that is best handled through the child custody order.

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