Going through a divorce can be quite challenging, but when there are children involved it can become much more problematic. At Mediation of Coral Springs, Inc., our Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediators routinely hear a party state just how important their children are to that person only to then hear this person downgrade and belittle his or her spouse. As not only a mediator, but also a parent, our Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediators often wonder whether this person demeans his or her spouse to the children in order to make children dislike their other parent. Unfortunately, this kind of behavior only causes long lasting harm to the children. But it doesn’t have to be this way – your children’s best interest should be the focus of your custody dispute.
When a spouse files a Florida Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, it can be very beneficial to the children if that person explains to them what is going on between their parents while emphasizing to the children that they aren’t the reason why their parents have decided to separate and that both of their parents love them. If the children are old enough to understand, you should explain the court process to them, so they understand what is going on when one or both of their parents have meetings with attorneys or have to appear in court.
Then after you have this conversation, your job is not done. Now it is time to refrain from discussing your divorce proceedings with your children. That also includes discussing the divorce with others in front of the children or on the phone while the children are in earshot. In addition, it is very important that you never talk badly about the other party in front of the children. Most children love both of their parents, so speaking badly about their other parent only harms the children.
During the course of the divorce, your children will more than likely see their parents together on numerous occasions. There may be exchanges for timesharing purposes, extracurricular activities, school programs or meetings, church events, birthdays just to name a few. During any of these interactions, it is important that you act nicely towards each other and keep a common front for the benefit of the children. If you treat your spouse poorly during any of these interactions, it is you who looks foolish – not only to your children, but also their friends and the other parents who may be at these events. You children may also feel embarrassed by your behavior. Our Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediators have seen videos that were taken during exchanges which show one party acting very poorly towards the other while the children are in the background. If the case isn’t settled at mediation, the next person to see these videos is Florida Family Law judge or maybe all of your friends on social media.
It is important to remember that during the course of a divorce, your most important asset is making sure that your children are not harmed by your behavior.