It doesn’t matter what the nature of the case is; whether it’s a divorce, a petition for an increase in child support, or a modification for child custody, when there are kids involved in a family law matter, they are the most important subject of the suit.

            Divorce is tough enough on the actual parties, but it’s even tougher on the children involved. Studies have shown that the hostile environment that can result from a contested divorce can negatively impact children’s academic performance and interest in social activities. It can also lead to things such as increased anger, sensitivity, and feelings of guilt.

            Children must be protected from any and all hostilities between parents in family law cases. This is why many Texas counties include in their standing orders something to the effect of an order to “refrain from discussing with a child or another in the presence of a child any litigation related to a child or other party.” The intention of the courts with this language is specifically to protect the children in a suit from any hostilities that may be present between their parents.

            Two key things you do not want to do is weaponize the children against the other parent and/or alienate them from the other parent. Not only will doing this hurt a case, but these two actions can cause severe psychological harm to the children. If the other parent is simply trying to be present in their child’s life and the primary parent refuses to let them, they will cause more harm to the children than good. No matter how much disdain is held for the other parent, if they are not a danger to the health, safety, or general welfare of the child they should not be kept away from their children.

            For the sake of the children involved, civility and maturity is a must. Explain to them why their parents are not living together anymore, but emphasize that they still have both parents. If the situation allows make sure they understand that both parents will be present in their lives. And no matter what refrain from disparaging the other parent in their presence.