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Talking to the Child about Court proceedings...

Started by *iLUVmySD*, Jan 05, 2009, 10:22:48 AM

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I have a general question and wanted some input about experiences people have had with talking to their kids about custody/visitation arrangements, court, etc.

The reason I am posting it in this section is because in my particular case, my stepdaughter is really sensitive about the whole thing and BM keeps talking to her about court, about selling her wedding ring to take my husband back to court for custody, etc.  BM has told my SD that the reason we have to go to court is because of me and that I wrote all the paperwork.  Because of this, my SD has had alot of questions about court and the entire arrangement that exists (SD lives with her father and I and goes to school here in Arizona and visits BM in Colorado over school breaks and holidays.) SD is 9 and we try to seperate her from the conflict as much as possible and tell her that she only has to know that everyone loves her very much and not to worry.  My SD is enrolled in the school counselor's group regarding changing families with other children with separated parents to try to help her deal with some of her worries in a neutral environment.  But we are still concerned that BM should not be saying things of this nature regarding court to my SD and it could be potentially harmful mentally to her.

Any input is welcome...


In general the children should not be involved or be discussing this with either parent, but the truth is that it's tough to enforce. You may want to talk with your SD and just try to balance out some of the things she's hearing, as this sort of thing often slips into the realm of parental alienation.

For more info on that, click here: parental alienation (http://www.deltabravo.net/cgi-bin/search.cgi?Terms=parental+alienation&Match=1&Realm=All)
The trouble with reality is that there's no background music.


We never said a thing to the skids about court BUT it backfired to an extent because all they hear is one-sided. Since she lives with you the BM has less time to do damage. I would ask her if she has specific questions and that you will answering them honestly (within her age range answers...). "Mom and I disagree about XYZ and the court will decide for us. We dont want you to worry about this. This is for the adults to handle."

Maybe get her an outside counselor for a while until court is over. Sometimes they hear horror stories in the school groups about parents fighting....I had to pull my daughter out because she was hearing things that were not happening in our house.

Hopefully after court it will calm down. While you are in court, you could have them add a phrase that the parents will not talk about court or show court documents to child BUT like the other poster said, very hard to get other parent to do it if they dont care about court orders.

Good luck!


Thanks for the input.  It's much appreciated.  We'll just keep plugging along as we normally do.  Should be going back to court soon since BM is bound and determined to regain custody as she made clear during mediation this past week.


Just found this.

I've done different things in different situations, kinda like reacting based on need.

As a CP with my girls, there was little action in court.  We divorced, and went back to court ONCE.  The girls would ask questions when they would see their father frustrated and badmouthing me, and then I'd do my best to explain what's in the order vs. what's going on.  I don't think I ever pulled out an order or a letter and let them read anything.  Amazingly, they have a good relationship with their dad and myself and it's been funny to see how Dad and I will give them the same answers to questions.

As the NCP to my son, now CP, and who knows after this school year is over, I know Dad talked to our son about court, and I chose not to unless our son asked me questions.  During the last round when son wanted to move and live with me, son said Dad's FIRST words were "I can't pay your mom XXX in child support!" which of course had son crying even at age 14, on the phone saying "Mom can you come get me NOW?"  I would tell son what my basic plans to get his dad to come to an agreement were to calm his fears, and then let it go.  NOW Dad and Camilla printed -- yep -- printed off posts from this very site and shared them with our son and said "SEE what your mom is saying!?!?!" and I suspect that continues to this day.  We're getting ready for another round and only time will tell how that plays out.

As the (former now) step-parent watching EX#3 go through his stuff, Mom (to their kids) showed the kids court orders.  But she didn't show them everything, just the pieces she wanted.  So with his kids, we took the approach to sit them down, HERE's the order, now you tell me where it says what your mom says it does?  HAD to, to counter the attempts at alienation that were going on.  EX#3 had 3 years where he didn't see his kids, and in the end, all 3 moved across country here (and yes, 1 went back because of dad's actions right after we split -- wouldn't have happened had I stayed, but I wasn't gonna put up with his crapola anymore).

So the answer IMHO is "it depends" at the same time leaning very heavily to the side of "don't let them read orders, letters, keep them out of it".

As they grow older, and become of "deciding age" the rules change a bit and the pendulum starts swinging more towards the middle.


Thanks for sharing your experiences and insight.  (I think I know why your pen-name is what it is. ;))
Court seems to be looming on the horizon although nothing has been filed yet.  We will probably ask my husband's lawyer what we can do in court to try to address this issue.