Kevin Qualls Family Law
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Children should not be collateral damage in any divorce

Too often children are caught between parents during divorce proceedings. Because they are the subject of certain decisions that parents and a judge must make -- especially child custody and child support -- uncertainty about their future can only add more anxiety to an already difficult time, especially if a parent seems to be prompting them to take sides. If the spouses are not able to go through divorce peacefully, they often malign one another in front of their children, and this can adversely affect children's emotional well-being.

This tug-of-war can make reaching certain agreements especially difficult. Determining child custody and visitation -- the time a parent will have with minor children -- can become the biggest challenges. It is not uncommon for parents to make outrageous and even criminal allegations about the other parent in order to win sole or primary custody; the attacks are meant to portray the other parent as unfit to raise the couple's children.

Unfortunately, some divorced couples continue their wars of word and recriminations even decades after divorce. This can make certain gatherings that are important to the children -- and should be important to their parents -- especially uncomfortable. Graduations, school recitals and plays, sports games, family gatherings and even weddings and religious events can become the scene of renewed conflict.

All divorcing parents need to understand that divorce is between them and their spouses and not their children. Their children's best interests need to be put first and foremost at all times. No celebration involving their children should ever be ruined by hostile and quarreling parents. This understanding is why so many legal experts suggest that alternative dispute-resolution mechanisms such as mediation and arbitration offer the best chance of getting couples through divorce amicably and without lingering resentment, especially when accompanied by family counseling.

Source: Mountain View Patch, "Your divorce is not part of your teen's graduation," Susan C. Schena, April 24, 2015

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