Divorce often entails an uncomfortable process fraught with heated emotions. However, if you find yourself in this situation and desire a smoother experience, I offer you a crucial piece of advice: Avoid involving your children in the divorce case.
Unfortunately, many parents improperly utilize their children in various ways. They employ their children to communicate with the other parent, as they prefer not to engage directly. Phrases like, ‘Go and inform your dad that he needs to cover your soccer lessons,’ or, ‘It’s time for mom to pay for your upcoming tuition,’ are common. As a result, the child ends up shouldering the burden of the divorce between the two parents.
This pitfall must be evaded, and there is, in fact, a technological tool that can aid you in communicating with your ex.
Two apps, namely ‘Talking Parents’ and ‘Our Family Wizard,’ serve as messaging platforms that enable parents to communicate through text. The advantage lies in their inability to manipulate or delete any texts, a crucial feature. Here’s why this matters:
Using a regular text message, you can selectively keep certain parts and take a screenshot to portray the other parent unfavorably before a judge. This occurs frequently. The other parent may appear in a negative light due to the omission of context.
Retaining the entire message is essential for the judge to see the complete picture. For instance, if you engage in a heated exchange with your ex, deleting your own heated messages but retaining the other parent’s responses, it could unfairly paint them in a negative manner while wrongly presenting you as composed. These apps preserve the entirety of conversations.
Since these apps’ communications might undergo court scrutiny, parents tend to exhibit their best behavior. This is important. ‘Talking Parents,’ for instance, rarely contains any profanity because parties are aware that judges will review these conversations. It compels all parties to maintain a civil and professional tone.
If you are currently undergoing a divorce or custody proceedings, there is no better time to start using these apps. Begin using them now rather than waiting for a judge’s order. Waiting will almost certainly lead to a judge’s order, as they understand the efficacy of these tools. Developing the habit of using them for communication can make your life easier in the future.
As for the children caught in the midst of the divorce, their ages will determine whether they can express their opinions to the judge. Naturally, older children have more influence on the proceedings’ outcome. This is because a child must be at least 14 years old to testify in court.
But what if the child is younger than 14?
If they are younger and have an opinion, an investigation can be initiated, involving an in-home interview conducted by an investigator. The investigator will compile a report documenting the child’s statements, which will then be presented to the court. However, at that age, the child will not testify before the judge.
Having practiced law as a divorce attorney for many years, I gained profound insights into the process and its impact on children by experiencing my own difficult divorce.
I genuinely believe that even babies understand what is happening. When I went through a divorce with my ex, my son was just 6 months old, and my daughter was not even 2 years old. During our custody exchanges, marked by negative energy, our children would almost always cry. This was not the case when I dropped them off at my mom’s house. Thus, during our exchanges, they would cry their eyes out. They were babies; they couldn’t speak, but they could sense the negative energy between us. They knew something was amiss.
The key here is to maintain civility, calmness, and professionalism. Your children’s lives truly depend on it.