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How can I reduce the amount of harm my divorce will cause my children?


Charles F. Vuotto, Jr., Esq.


“How can I reduce the amount of harm my divorce will cause my children?”



There are a multitude of things that divorcing parties can do to reduce the negative impact of divorce upon their children. Of course, every family is different and has particular issues that may call for additions or deletions to the following list. However, the following represents a general guide to reducing the negative impact of divorce on children:


1. Keep your emotions in check. Out of control emotions or irrational thoughts lead to imprudent decisions.


2. Litigants should not use their children as bargaining chips or pawns in the divorce litigation.


3. Litigants should not argue or discuss the litigation in the presence of their children.


4. Litigants should attempt to work cooperatively with regard to custody and time-sharing issues, even if it means that their individual goals or desires are not met.


5. Once the parties have decided to divorce, it is essential that they attempt to speak to their children together and show them a united front so that they can see that, although their parents cannot live together any longer, they still have a mother and a father who love and care for them and can work together to preserve their best interests.


6. Litigants should not view their children as spoils of their divorce litigation.


7. Litigants should not enlist their children as couriers or messengers.


8. Litigants should not bad mouth, alienate or undermine the other spouse to or in the presence of the children and should be charged with encouraging the relationship between the children and the other spouse.


9. Litigants should not discuss spousal disputes with or in the presence of the children.


10. Litigants should not interrogate the children about their other parent.


Although the negative impact upon children due to divorce cannot be eliminated, it can be greatly reduced if these basic guiding principles are followed. Children are resilient and can adapt to most situations that are not harmful to their physical, emotional, social, educational or spiritual wellbeing. If parents can put aside what they want and concentrate on what is best for the children, they can learn to work cooperatively and co-parent post-divorce in a civil and respectful manner. If this can be accomplished, it will certainly reduce the harm that children suffer due to divorce.

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