Do 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 3rd of a 4 part blog, are my ideas on what should be included in any discussion answering the question do children have rights in a divorce. In my opinion, the answer to this question is a resounding and unwavering YES! 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.

17. You have the right not to be blamed for your feelings. Or for anything.

18. You have the right to know it was not your fault, even if you have been difficult and not on your best behavior. Parents don’t get divorced because their kids aren’t on their best behavior.

19. You have the right not to want to meet Dad’s new girlfriend even if he’s super ready for you to do so.

20. You have the right not to be ready to move to new, post-divorce phases even if your parents say ‘it’s time to move on.’

21. You have the right to feel really, really weirded out and incredibly sad seeing your mom or dad parenting somebody else’s kids!

22. You have the right to feel jealousy.

23. You have the right to wish your old life back, even if it was, if you’re really honest, stressful, negative and sad.

24. You have the right to confide in friends and to seek their support.