Divorces can be ugly, but when you add children to the mix it can be about 10 times worse. There aren't winners or losers in a child custody case, child custody is supposed to be about what is best for your child. It isn't about what happened in the divorce or who did what, it's about your child. There are a number of do's and don'ts when going through a child custody case. See below for a few of these to help you as you go through your case.
Don't Use Your Child As An Informant
Don't use your child to spy for you on the other parent. Your child shouldn't be spying for information ever, and don't put your child in the position by asking them to do so.
Do Ask If Your Child Had A Good Time
Ask your child instead what did they do during their time with the other parent, but do so in a way that isn't as if you're prying for information. Ask if your child had a good time and leave it at that. Asking too much may make your child feel uncomfortable.
Don't Bring Your Child Into Your Drama
Things that happened during your relationship with the other parent shouldn't be brought up to your child. You don't need to bring your child into your past drama (or present drama). Stories from the past in an effort to make the other parent look bad to the child should never be brought up. Speaking ill about the other parent is also a no-no. You can have your opinion, but keep it to yourself.
Do Discuss Right And Wrong With Your Child
If there is something from your past such as anger issues need to be addressed, do so in a manner that doesn't specifically call out the other parent. Instead, discuss openly what is wrong and right with your child. Things such as manipulative behavior, anger, inappropriate behavior, or putting someone down should all be discussed with your child.
Don't Talk About Money With Your Child
Don't talk about money or child support with your child. You shouldn't bring your child into that. It's not their business at all, and the other parent shouldn't bring it up to the child either. Money such as what another parent is spending their money on also shouldn't be discussed with the child.
Child custody cases can get pretty ugly, and there is never a winner in these cases. They can sometimes go on for the entire 18 years (or more) of your child's life. Make the most of the situation and try your best to be the bigger person. Remember that little ears are always listening and set a good example for your child.
When my ex-husband decided to contest my choice to homeschool our children, I knew that I had to defend my right as the custodial parent. Our custody agreement gave me authority over educational decisions, but he still took me to court. I spent a lot of time working with an attorney to find out how best to handle it, and I did a lot of research on the laws as they applied. If you're trying to defend your educational choices amidst your divorce, this site may help. I've built it to share everything I learned and explain the process that I went through to secure my rights.