Keep it Civil, Not Stupid

Mace Greenfield Client/Litigant/Pro Se Information

Going through a divorce can be extremely difficult, especially if there are children involved and issues of custody and visitation. However, the key is to always put the children first and keep their best interests in mind. Spouses should discuss and agree on how to make it easier for their children during the process and afterwards possibly even utilizing professionals in the mental health field. In particular, jointly communicating with the children about what is going on within limits is important; both spouses should jointly sit with them and discuss why they are getting a divorce and reassure the children that they still love them and that the family is going to go through a transitional period.


Do NOT tell the children the details of why, the finances, fault, etc. Do NOT badmouth the other parent nor grill the children about the other parent. Do NOT disclose personal information about the other parent. Do NOT make the children feel guilty to enjoy talking to or spending time with the other parent.


There are benefits for children whose parents go through a civilized divorce rather than a time-consuming, hostile divorce litigation. Specifically, there is likely to be less stress on the children, and in turn the environment that the children are in will be more comfortable both during the divorce and afterwards. Time is another crucial factor. Civilized divorces will presumably take less time, which will make it easier on the children because it will not be a dragging and grueling process for both them and their parents to endure.


It is also significant to note that children will not feel like they have to choose between their parents if they see that they are not at odds with one another. Making the children feel like they have to pick a side or only have a relationship with one of their parents is detrimental to their emotional and psychological health; parents should encourage their children to have strong relationship with both of them. Girls get their sense of self-confidence as a woman by how much their fathers accepts them as a female. A boy gets his self of self-confidence as man by how much his mother accepts him as a male. The boy, as he gets older, needs his father as a role model. The girl, as she gets older, needs her mother as a role model. Destroy the child’s view of his or her mother or father will destroy that child’s view of his or herself. Consider how using the children as pawns to get what they want from their ex-spouse affects the children’s developmental growth.


When you badmouth and mistreat the other parent to your children, you’re teaching your child how to treat the other parent of your future grandchildren – guaranteeing that not only are you screwing up your own children, but you are screwing up your future grandchildren as well. If you really love your children, keep your negative thoughts and feelings about the other parent to yourself.


The children whose parents do not have a civilized divorce often experience behavioral problems, depression, anger, lack of trust, or bury themselves in academics and career to escape personal interactions. These can be attributed to anxiety, believing the divorce is their fault, or difficulty adjusting to their new family dynamic, or just the chaos and negativity they are surround by.


Bottom line: Be careful. You only get one chance at raising your children, do NOT screw them by using them as pawns.