Children have rights in a divorce!

Children of divorce are being parented by (former) children of divorce at record levels these days. Those of us who have watched parents pioneer the art of tearing their marriage apart taught us all a lot about what works and what doesn’t. Now the children should be the beneficiaries of our wisdom, right? Children from “broken homes” know how hard it can be, and they know all the ways parents can make it easier, more humane, even positive. So, as a lawyer who practices in this area, I think it’s time we set up some ground rules. In that spirit, in this 1st of a 4 part blog, are my ideas on what should be included in any discussion that children have rights in a divorce. All children in this situation have the right to their feelings all of them, whenever they come, whatever they are.  Parents with children going through a divorce must be aware of these rights & feelings and seek to honor them.

  1. You have the right to be listened to, heard, understood and taken seriously.
  2. You have the right to be stunned, shaken to your core, to be in disbelief.
  3. You have the right to feel betrayed and to feel the foundation of everything you thought to be true is shaking beneath you.
  4. You will probably see one parent thrive and another one suffer for a while. You have the right to find that appalling and confusing.
  5. You may be called ‘selfish’ if you express your feelings. You have the right to be ‘selfish.’
  6. You have the right to feel it’s unfair that one parent seems to move on quickly, easily finding a new love, a new life, without looking back. That hurts. You have every right to feel hurt and angry by that and to tell your fast-moving parent to slow down.
  7. You have the right to ask questions and to have them answered honestly and appropriately by your parents.