Q: My husband and I are in the process of getting divorced. While we resolve our child custody issues, how can we keep our kids out of “the middle” of our dispute?
You are right to be concerned about this issue. Far too often, child custody disputes take on a life of their own. The parents become consumed by their differences and entrenched in their positions. Throughout all of this, the children drift, hearing more than they should hear, seeing more than they should see, and being involved in matters they probably shouldn’t even know about. San Francisco child custody attorney Paul Nathan offers these suggestions:
- Do not use your child as a messenger. Your child shouldn’t be asked to communicate your messages to the other parent, even if the messages seem neutral. It’s not a child’s responsibility to remind the other parent to sign the field trip form or to pay half of the soccer registration fee. Parents should deal with one another directly or through an adult intermediary.
- Do not ask your child, even indirectly, to pick sides. Do not badmouth your ex or try to get your child to say something negative about the other parent. Children love both their parents, and they should not feel torn about expressing that love.
- Do not put your child in the middle with questions about the other parent. Children should not be interrogated about the other parent’s activities, new girlfriends, living arrangements, or other topics. If you have concerns about these topics, raise them with the other parent yourself.
Paul Nathan represents women in Marin County child custody matters. To get in touch with him, contact the Law Offices of Paul H. Nathan at 415-341-1144 or by filling out our online contact form.