Getting a divorce can affect your children greatly. No matter how old he is, your child will go through some emotional upheaval as you finalize the divorce. Though you may not be able to stand your ex, you need to come together to support your child. If you are able to do this, your child will have an easier time.
Your child’s life changes dramatically when you get a divorce. She may have to bounce back and forth between homes; she may feel like she has to take sides; she may resent both of you for changing her life so much. In all of this, you have to respect her feelings with respect to her age. For example, a very young child may act needy, because she’s afraid that you’re going to leave her too. Older children may be more vocal about their feelings and what they want.
All children have the right to maintain a good relationship with both parents and family members on both sides. They usually have the right to visit with the noncustodial parent according to the custody arrangement and the right to ask parents to make temporary changes to the agreement–for example, when she wants to attend a friend’s birthday party or the homecoming game. In most cases, the noncustodial parent must make child support payments for the benefit of the child. Each parent should take care to not bad-mouth the other so that the child doesn’t have bad feelings toward either parent.
There is no universal set of children’s rights in a divorce that are legally mandated. When parents go to court to settle the divorce, the judge will settle the details of the arrangements, which become the child’s official rights. Other ideas are merely suggestions for how parents should treat children with respect at all times.
Things get much more complicated when the noncustodial parent lives in another state. The Visitation Rights Enforcement Act of 1998 forces each state to abide by the visitation schedule that the previous state arranged. If the out-of-state move is new, it’s essential to set up a new agreement for visitation and contact. For example, your child may not be able to visit hisfather every other weekend, but his father may take custody of him for the summer. Additionally, you may have to expand the rules for contact by phone, allowing your child to contact his father by phone or email at any time.
It’s important to remain flexible when considering the rights of the child in a divorce. As children grow, their schedules become more complex and it may be more difficult to maintain a strict visitation schedule. Try to respect your child’s desires for more or fewer visits as she becomes older.
- Child image by ivan kmit from Fotolia.com