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Protecting children from parental hostilities during divorce

Most parents in California understand that divorce inflicts emotional challenges on children. While disruption cannot be prevented, parents can avoid behaviors that could make the transition even more difficult for the family.

Concerned parents should not place their children at the center of their adult disputes. The issues causing the divorce should not be discussed in intimate detail with children as they may not fully understand the intricacies of a married relationship. Since children tend to place blame on themselves for parental breakups, parents should strive to reassure them that this is not the case.

Ideally, children will be allowed to feel comfortable in maintaining relationships with both parents. Children should not be exposed to disparaging comments about the ex-spouse or scolded for expressing love or appreciation for the other parent. Furthermore, children should not feel like they have to choose one parent over the other. When parents exchange their children, they should communicate in a civil manner and avoid arguments. The urge to employ children as spies on the other parent should be resisted as well. Adults need to communicate with each other and not use their children as messengers.

Every family situation has unique aspects, and some people struggle to succeed with shared custody. A person who needs to enforce a child custody agreement or modify the schedule could look to an attorney for support. Before approaching a court, an attorney might resolve the problem by communicating with the other parent. With legal support, parents might agree to a new schedule, which the attorney could submit to a court for review and approval. If an enforcement action becomes necessary, then legal counsel could alert the family court about the other party's failure to follow a court order.

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