Children’s Bill of Rights in Divorce

The ending of a marriage in divorce should be kept between the adults. Yet, no parental action has a greater impact on the children than the decision to end a marriage. Even with the stress that divorce proceeding can cause, the parents have a responsibility to conduct their legal affairs in a manner that will protect their children as much as possible. Adult conflict through the divorce process can create long-term emotional and mental issues in the children. At a minimum, the children are entitled to the following Bill of Rights:

  1. Neither parent shall deny the child reasonable use of the telephone to place and receive calls with the other parent and relatives.
  2. Neither parent shall speak or write derogatory remarks about the other parent to the child, or engage in abusive, coarse or foul language, which can be overheard by the child.
  3. Neither parent shall permit the children to overhear arguments, negotiations, or any discussions about legal or business dealings between the parents.
  4. Neither parent shall physically or psychologically attempt to influence the child’s own opinion or position concerning legal proceedings between the parents.
  5. Each parent to permit the children to display photographs of the other parent (or both parents) in their rooms.
  6. Neither parent is to communicate moral judgments to the children about the other parent’s choice of values, lifestyle, choice of friends, successes or failures in career, financial dealings, relationships or residential choices.
  7. The parents are to acknowledge to the children that they (the children) have two homes, although they may be spending more time at one home than the other.
  8. The parents shall cooperate with each other regarding time spent with the children.
  9. Each parent will permit the children to retain and keep correspondence, greeting cards, and other written materials received from the other parent.
  10. The parents are to respect the physical integrity of items possessed by the children which remind them of the other parent.
  11. Neither parent to trivialize, or deny the existence of the other parent to the children.
  12. Neither parent to interrogate the children about the other parent or discourage comments made by the children about the other parent.
  13. Neither parent to intercept, lose, derail forget or otherwise interfere with communication from the other parent to the children.
  14. Both parents to acknowledge that the children can have, or should have, good experiences with the other parent.
  15. Neither parent are to directly or indirectly attack or criticize to the children the extended family of the other parent, the other parent’s career, the living and travel arrangements of the other parent, or lawful activities of the other parent or associates of the other parent.
  16. Neither parent are to use the children as “middlemen” to communicate with the other parent on inappropriate topics.
  17. Neither parent are to undermine the other parent in the eyes of the children by manipulating, changing or rearranging facts.
  18. Neither parent are to create or exaggerate differences between the parents.
  19. Neither parent are to say and do things in order to gain the children as “allies” against the other parent.
  20. Neither parent are to encourage or instruct the children to be disobedient or dishonest to the other parent, stepparents, or relatives.
  21. Neither parent are to reward the children to disrespect or act negatively toward the other parent.
  22. Neither parent to attempt to make the children believe that he or she loves the children more than the other parent.
  23. Neither parent to discuss child support issues with the children.
  24. Neither parent to engage in judgmental, opinionated or negative commentary, physical inspections or interrogations when the children return from their other home.
  25. Neither parent to change, rewrite, or “re-script” facts which the children originally know to be different.
  26. Neither parent to punish the children, or threaten to punish, in order to influence the children to agree with the parent’s negativity, if any, against the other parent.
  27. Neither parent to permit the children to be transported by a person who is intoxicated due to the use of alcohol or drugs.
  28. Neither parent to smoke tobacco materials inside structures or vehicles occupied at the time by the children.
  29. Both the parent are to permit the children to carry gifts, toys, clothing, and other items belonging to the children when going to the home of the other parent or relatives thus allowing the children to have objects that are important to them. (The gifts, toys, clothing and other items belonging to the children must be reasonably transportable) Pets may be determined by the parents to be impractical to move about.

Should you have questions regarding how to apply this Children’s Bill of Rights in Divorce, we can be reached at 585-750-6530 or online at fingerlakesmediation.com