One of the most difficult challenges of a divorce that involves children is making sure that they are protected and shielded from all the conflict that can sometimes make this process so difficult. Major child-related issues such as child custody, child support, and child relocation can cause rifts between a divorcing couple. However, they can also cause long-term emotional damage to children. As a result, it is important for each party going through a divorce to ensure that children understand all their rights during the process. This will then help them feel more secure.
What Rights Do Children Have in a Divorce?
When we talk about the word ‘rights’ as it relates to children, it is not simply a listing of the legal rights that children have after a divorce. It is also the human rights they should be given during the process.
These rights should always include:
- The human right to express hurt, fear, anger and confusion to either parent and to expect that parent to treat those feelings with respect.
- The human right to love both parents without being made to feel bad by either parent for expressing that love.
- The human right to continue having relationships with extended family, including grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
- The human right to spend time with both parents, especially the parent who does not have physical and/or legal custody, including traveling out of state.
- The human right not to have either parent talk disparagingly about the other parent.
- The human right to avoid taking sides with either parent.
- The human right to express a preference regarding which parent they want to live with after a divorce.
- The legal right to have all their financial needs met by both parents.
- The legal right to see the both parents, per the terms of the visitation/timesharing agreement.
- The legal right to seek protection from an abusive parent.
As you can see, the ‘rights’ of children during a divorce are intended to provide them with security and reassurance during such a life-changing event.
That is why family court judges base their decisions regarding issues such as child custody, child visitation, child relocation and child support on what is in the best interests of a child.
How Divorce Impacts Children
These rights are important not simply to protect children and provide them with security, but also because the long-term impact of divorce can be so damaging.
Multiple studies have found that children who suffer through a contentious divorce may experience problems that include:
- Lower Academic Performance – the stress of a divorce can cause behavior issues in some children that affect classroom concentration and academic performance.
- Increase in Drug and Alcohol Problems – although the majority of children from a divorced home are resilient, some may be at a higher risk for drug and alcohol abuse as a means of coping.
- Increase in Psychological Problems – divorce is extremely difficult on all parties involved, and for children, the split can cause psychological and emotional problems related to self-esteem, self-confidence, anger and anxiety.
Not every child of a divorce will exhibit these problems. However, children whose parents have divorced are at a higher risk of grappling with these issues.
Protect Your Children
If you are going through a divorce that involves children, your top priority must be to make decisions that are in their best interests. That may even mean sacrificing your own desires.
An experienced divorce lawyer can help you create valid custody arrangements, support payments, and visitation agreements that most benefit your child. Please call The Law Office of Eric C. Cheshire, P.A. at 561-655-8844 for your legal consultation near downtown West Palm Beach, Florida.