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Children's Bill of Rights

Any parent who is contemplating a divorce should put the rights of their children first. I meet with many couples who deeply care about protecting their children from the trauma of divorce. That is usually one of the main reasons they choose an out of court divorce process such as Divorce Mediation or Collaborative Law.

Statistics show that it is not the process of divorce that is traumatic for children, it is how the parents handle the divorce and how they treat each other afterwards that is traumatic. I have all my divorcing parents read the Children's Bill of Rights before any negotiations begin. I ask permission ,from the couples, prior to negotiations to remind them of their Children's Bill of Rights. This allows them to refocus on the main issue when they begin raising positions based on their own interests, and not in the best interest of their children.

The Children's Bill of Rights in Divorce

Divorced parents still must fulfill their responsibilities to their kids, and in my view, children should have rights in divorced families. If you give your children these freedoms, you will have gone a long way toward fulfilling your responsibilities as a parent.

Every child whose parents divorce has:

1. The right to have a meaningful relationship with both parents and love and be loved by both of his/her parents without feeling guilt or disapproval.

2. The right to be protected from his/her parents' anger with each other.

3. The right to be kept out of the middle of his/her parents/ conflict, including the right not to pick sides, carry messages or hear complaints about the other parent.

4. The right not to have to choose one of his/her parents over the other.

5. The right not to have to be responsible for the burden of either of her/his parents' emotional problems.

6. The right to know well in advance about important changes that will affect his/her life; for example, when one of his/her parents is going to move or get remarried.

7. The right to reasonable financial support during her/his childhood and through her/his college years.

8. The right to have feelings, to express his/her feelings, and to have both parents listen to how he/she feels.

9. The right to have a life that is as close as possible to what it would have been if his/her parents had stayed together.

10. The right to be a kid.

These rights have neither been defined by law nor can they be protected or enforced by anyone but parents. To fully enforce and protect your child's Bill of Rights in Divorce requires your constant vigilance in policing your words and actions, your unflagging commitment to shouldering burdens and making the hard choices that insulate your child form the adult issues of divorce. It's a tall order, but your children deserve nothing less.

Categories: Divorce, Child Custody, Divorce Mediation, Collaborative Divorce, Divorce Related Issues
The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

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