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The seven Do’s and Don’ts of divorce and children

The following advice is designed to reduce any harm to your children. It will also put you in a
more favorable light with the Court and any court appointed psychologists should you be
unable to resolve your differences.

You should also keep a parenting journal. You should be aware that this may be
discoverable in a custody proceeding.


  1. Divorcing couples have fights.  If you didn’t, you might
    not be divorcing! But don’t drag your children into your
    fights. Do not bad-mouth you ex-partner in front of the
    children, no matter how angry they make you. Do not put
    children in a position where they feel they have to take
  2. Once you have explained to the children that you are
    separating do not discuss the divorce or financial
    matters in front of them.  
  3. Do not use your children to spy on your ex-partner. Don’t
    ask them who Mom or Dad is now dating.
  4. Do not try and turn your children against your ex-partner.
    It is not only damaging to the children but in the long run
    will back fire against you.
  5. Do not use your children as go-betweens to deliver
    messages, money, or anything else.
  6. If you feel sad or angry, do not seek emotional support
    from your children. Use your family or friends or seek
    the help of a professional therapist.
  7. Resist the temptation to be a Disney-land parent
    lavishing gifts and trips to win their affection. Children
    need to spend quiet time with you and be interested in
    all aspects of their life including homework, friends and


  1. Continue to reassure the children that both Mom and
    Dad will always love them, no matter what. Always take
    the time to listen to your children about their feelings.
  2. Assure your children that your separation is not their
  3. Try to maintain the child’s regular routine as much as
  4. Be punctual on all visitations. If you have to re-schedule
    be considerate and give as much notice as possible.
  5. Allow your ex-partner to talk to the children on a regular
  6. Be cautious about introducing new partners to your
    children. Only introduce new partners to the children if
    the relationship is serious and only gradually and in
    neutral territory rather than the home.
  7. Take care of yourself. Being a single parent can be
    overwhelming and you will need time to cope with the
    change.  You will present a better role model to the
    children if you are positive and healthy.

The dangers of new technologies

Technology such as email can be a wonderful tool to help you communicate with your ex-
partner. But there are dangers. Resist the temptation to use emails, myspace or telephone
messages to vent your feelings of anger or frustration at your ex-partner.  Once you tell your
ex-partner in an email or a telephone message what a jerk they are, you can be sure they
will use it in court. Follow these rules:

  1. Be professional and courteous in all emails and messages.
  2. Never say anything in an email or message or post anything to your myspace page
    that you would not want a Judge to read or hear.
  3. Never send an email or message in anger. Always wait a day or two to respond and
    once you have cooled down. Resist the reply button.
  4. Do not post pictures of your children on public pages on the web e.g. myspace

Contact a Los Angeles Divorce Attorney at Law Offices of Warren R. Shiell today!
Call for a free consultation now 310.247.9913.


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