California Info

California Divorce Start Your Divorce Find Professionals California Articles Divorce Facts Divorce Grounds Residency Divorce Laws Mediation/Counseling Divorce Process Legal Separation Annulments Property Division Alimony Child Custody Child Support Divorce Forms Process Service Grandparent Rights Forum California Products Divorce by County

California Articles

Agreements Attorney Relationship Custody & Visitation Child Support Collaborative Law Counseling Divorce/General Domestic Abuse Domestic Partnership Financial Planning Foreign Divorce Mediation Parenting Property Division Spousal Support SEE ALL

Info Categories

Contemplating Divorce Children & Divorce Divorce, Dollars & Debt Divorce Laws Divorce Process Divorce Negotiation SEE ALL

More Information

Articles Checklists Research Center Cases of Interest Dictionary Encyclopedia Encyclopedia (pop-up) Blogs

For Professionals

Advertise With Us Free Network Page Join Our Network Submit Articles Case Management Sign In

Network Sites

California Divorce Support California Divorce Online

Advice to a Parent on Reducing Harm to a Child During Divorce
The Do's and Don'ts of a Divorce

Dear Frank:

I have written you this letter to explain ways in which you can help reduce the harm your son Keith suffers during your divorce from Martha and, at the same time, increase your chances for obtaining a favorable result regarding your case.

If you are sometimes tempted to criticize Martha in Keith's presence, your feelings are natural. You may, in fact, have good reasons for doing so but it is important not to for this reason:

  • Keith will try as hard as he can to believe that his mother is a good person.
  • Keith needs to love Martha and needs to know that Martha loves him.
  • If Keith thinks ill of his mother, it will damage his self image. He is, after all, Martha's son. If his mother is a bad person (Keith may reason), how could he be good?
  • If Keith doesn't trust his mother, it will reduce his confidence in the security of his future. If his mother isn't trustworthy ( Keith may reason), his own future is seriously at risk. One thing children of divorce desperately need their confidence that they will be well cared for.
  • Keith's relationship with his mother creates the foundation of his future relationships with women, and it is important that the foundation be strong.
  • The more hostile Keith sees your attitude toward Martha as being, the more Keith will be placed in the middle of the conflict between Martha and you, and the more guilty he'll feel for having "caused" your marital separation. As you know, children often blame themselves for their parents' disputes.
  • If Martha criticizes you to Keith but you fail to return the attack, Keith's respect for you will grow. Children are remarkably intuitive about fair treatment.
  • Judges greatly disfavor parents who criticize their former partners in the presence of their children. This factor is highly relevant to the judge's determination of custody and visitation issues.

So, as you can see, the major Don't is "Don't criticize Martha in Keith's presence."

Here are some of the other Don'ts:

  • Don't allow others to criticize Martha in Keith's presence.
  • Don't argue with Martha in Keith's presence. Be careful not to argue during visiting exchanges.
  • Don't discuss adult issues (e.g., finances or the details of your separation) with Keith or in Keith's presence.
  • Don't ask Keith to deliver messages, money, or anything else to Martha.
  • Don't use Keith to spy on Martha for you, or ask him to report Martha's actions to you (e.g., don't ask Keith who Martha is dating).
  • Don't use visitation with Keith as a reward for Martha's good behavior, or withhold visitation as a punishment for Martha's bad behavior.
  • Don't tell Keith that he will be able to choose where he wants to live. If Keith is a teenager, discuss this issue with me.

Here are some of the Do's:

  • Do assure Keith that both you and Martha still love him and that he has your full permission to continue to love Martha.
  • Do assure Keith that he will be well taken care of by both you and Martha.
  • Do assure Keith that your separation from Martha is not his fault.
  • Do be punctual regarding all visitations.

The custody and visitation issues in your case may be easily resolved or may necessitate substantial litigation. I will vigorously defend your rights. In fact, the advice contained in this letter is the first step to our obtaining a successful result in your case. Judges are very impressed by efforts parents make to shield their children from emotional harm. If you follow the suggestions in this letter, you will be the good guy in any mediation, psychological evaluation, custody investigation or custody/visitation court hearing in your case. Expressing your anger about Martha to or in front of Keith will be detrimental to your case, as well as to Keith.

Please maintain a confidential journal describing in detail any instances of Martha's failure to practice proper parenting. Examples of her failures include her doing any of the Don'ts described in this letter.

Sincerely,
Peter M. Walzer


Was this helpful? Like our site & let us know.

Related Articles


Start California Divorce Start Your California Online Divorce Today
Easy, Fast and Affordable with a 100% Guarantee.
California Divorce Find California Divorce Professionals in Your Area:
Join the Network
California Divorce Products, Services and Solutions California Divorce Products, Services and Solutions
California Divorce Resources to Help You Through the Process.
Online Parenting Class California Mandatory Online Parenting Class
Easy and convenient - complete at your own pace online.
Divorce and Custody Books Discount Divorce Bookstore
Over 100 Titles of the Best Books on Divorce & Custody.
Divorce Downloads Divorce Download Center
Instantly Download, Books, Manuals, & Forms.
Divorce Worksheet Free California Divorce Worksheet & Separation Agreement
Your Guide to Get Organized and Put Everything in Writing.
   
To file for divorce, one spouse must have lived in California for the last six months, and the county where the action is filed for the last three months. Spouses who have lived in California for at least six months, but in different counties for at least three months can file in either county. These California residency requirements must be met in order for the court to have jurisdiction of the case.
Divorce Lawyers & Mediators
 

Find Professionals

Easily Connect With a Lawyer or Mediator
Have Divorce Professionals from Your Area Contact You!
Enter Your Zip Code:

 

Start Your Divorce File for a California Divorce

 

Settle Your Divorce Negotiate Your California Divorce

 

Support Forum California Support Forum

Children In Between - Online Parenting Class


FEATURED TOOL - How to Stop Your Divorce (Even When You Think its Too Late)

Guarantee Official PayPal Seal Facebook Twitter Versign Secure Site
Limited Offer Women's Rights Manual For Divorce
Cover Price: $55.95
Your Price: $29.95
You Save: $26.00

"The Absolute Best Investment in Your Divorce"

Men's Rights Manual For Divorce
Cover Price: $55.95
Your Price: $29.95
You Save: $26.00

"Uncover Your Options and Unleash Solutions"