Divorce Law: Dos and Don’ts of Custody

Divorce Law: Dos and Don’ts of Custody

Parenting: The 7 Dos and Don’ts for Parents to Keep their Kids Out of the Divorce

How do you reduce the damage done to children during a divorce? The following advice is designed to reduce any harm to your children. It will also put you in a more favorable light with the Court and any court appointed psychologists should you be unable to resolve your differences. You should also keep a parenting journal. You should be aware that this may be discoverable in a custody proceeding.


1. Divorcing couples have fights.

If you didn’t you might not be divorcing! But don’t drag your children into your fights.

2. Do not bad-mouth you ex-partner in front of the children.

No matter how angry they make you, do not put children in a position where they feel they have to take sides.

3. Don’t talk about the divorce details to children.

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Once you have explained to the children that you are separating do not discuss the divorce or financial matters in front of the children.

4. Do not use your children to spy on your ex-partner.

Don’t ask them who Mom or Dad is now dating.

5. Do not try and turn your children against your ex-partner.

It is not only damaging to the children but in the long run will back fire.

6. Do not use children as messengers.

Do not use your children as go-betweens to deliver messages, money, or anything else.

7. If you feel sad or angry, do not seek emotional support from your children.

Use your family or friends or seek the help of a professional therapist.

8. Resist the temptation to be a Disney-land parent lavishing gifts and trips to win their affection.

Children need to spend quiet time with you and be interested in all aspects of their life including homework, friends, and activities.


1. Reassure your children.

Continue to reassure the children that both Mom and Dad will always love them, no matter what. Always take the time to listen to your children about their feelings.

2. Tell them it’s not their fault.

Assure your children that your separation is not their fault.

3. Keep a schedule.

Try to maintain the child’s regular routine as much as possible.

4. Be punctual on all visitations.

If you have to re-schedule be considerate and give as much notice as possible.

5. Keep communication lines open.

Allow your ex-partner to talk to the children on a regular basis.

6. Be cautious about introducing new partners to your children.

Only introduce new partners to the children if the relationship is serious and only gradually and in neutral territory rather than the home.

7. Take care of yourself.

Being a single parent can be overwhelming and you will need time to cope with the change. You will present a better role model to the children if you are positive and healthy.


Technology can be a wonderful tool to help you communicate with your ex-partner. But there are dangers. Resist the temptation to use emails, telephone messages or postings on the Internet to vent your feelings of anger or frustration at your ex-partner. Once you tell your ex-partner in an email or a telephone message what a jerk or !@?*” they are, you can be sure that in any litigation these communications will be dragged into court. For the same reason, you should be careful what you post on Internet sites such as Facebook or blogs. Follow these rules:

1. Be professional and courteous in all e-mails and messages.

2. Never say anything in an e-mail or message that you would not want a judge to hear.

3. Never send an email or message in anger. Always wait a day or two to respond and once you have cooled down.

4. Do not post pictures of your children on the Internet where anyone can view them.

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