Children are the ones who are most vulnerable during divorce proceedings. The goal is to shelter them from the conflict as they are just children and should not be burdened with adult issues. That being said, in certain cases, where the parents cannot agree on custody, a lawyer is appointed to the child and/or children in order to advocate for their rights. The role of the children’s lawyer is to act as the voice of the child before the court. The children’s lawyer meets with the child to receive a mandate with the child’s wishes as to custody. The goal again is to shelter the child and generally to avoid the necessity of the child having to testify in court.
Children’s Bill of Rights
Here are 16 critical things that you need to know and follow for your children when going through a divorce.
- The right not to be asked to « choose sides » or be put in a situation where I would have to take sides between my parents.
- The right to be treated as a person and not as a pawn, possession or negotiating chip.
- The right to freely and privately communicate with both parents.
- The right not to be asked question by one parent about the other.
- The right not to be a messenger.
- The right to express my feelings.
- The right to adequate visitation with the non-custodial parent which will best serve my needs and wishes.
- The right to love and have a relationship with both parents without being made to feel guilty.
- The right not to hear either parent say anything bad about the other.
- The right to the same educational opportunities and economic support that I would have had if my parents did not divorce.
- The right to have what is in my best interest protected at all times.
- The right to maintain my status as a child and not to take on adult responsibilities for the sake of the parent’s well being.
- The right to request my parents seek appropriate emotional and social support when needed.
- The right to expect consistent parenting at a time when little in my life seems constant or secure.
- The right to expect healthy relationship modeling, despite the recent events.
- The right to expect utmost support when taking the time and steps needed to secure a healthy adjustment to the current situation.
Excerpt from “The truth about children and divorce” by Robert Emery.