A piece of advice: Leave the kids out of the divorce

Divorce is usually an uncomfortable process filled with heated emotions. But if you find yourself in that position and you want it to go as smoothly as possible, I have one crucial piece of advice for you: Don’t bring your kids into the divorce case.

A lot of parents use their kids in so many ways that are so wrong. They use their kids to communicate with the other parent because they don’t want to talk to the other parent. They’ll say, ‘Go tell your dad that he needs to pay for your soccer lessons,’ or they’ll say, ‘It’s time for mom to pay for your tuition that’s coming up.’ So, the child ends up shouldering the burden of the divorce between the two parents.

That pitfall needs to be avoided. And there is actually a technological tool that can help you communicate with your ex.

There is an app called ‘Talking Parents’ and there’s an app called ‘Our Family Wizard.’.

These are basically messaging apps that allow parents to communicate using text. The good thing is these apps don’t allow the parents to manipulate or delete any texts. And that’s really important. Here’s why:

With an ordinary text you can keep what you want and make a screenshot of it to make the other parent look bad in front of a judge. This happens a lot. The other parent could look bad because you took out the context.

You need to keep the entire message so the judge sees the entire picture. For example, if you start cursing out your ex and delete the cursing but just keep the other parent’s responses, that could make the other person look bad while wrongly making you look good. So, these apps preserve the conversations in their entirety.

Since the communication in these apps might possibly be scrutinized by the court, parents tend to present their best behavior. And that is a good thing. On ‘Talking Parent,’ for example, you rarely see any curse words because you know the judge will be looking at these conversations. It forces all parties to act more cordial and professionally.

And there’s no time like the present to start using these apps if you are currently going through a divorce and/or custody proceedings. Start using it now instead of waiting for a judge to order it. If you wait before you go to court almost 100 percent of the time the judge will order it because he or she knows how effective it is. So, you just get in the habit now of using it now for communication. It could make life easier down the road.

Regarding the children caught up in the divorce, their ages will dictate whether or not they can give their opinion of their circumstances to the judge. Naturally, older children can have more say in what the outcome of the proceedings should be. This is because a child has to be at least age 14 in order to testify in court.

Now what if they’re younger than 14 years old?

If they’re younger and they have an opinion, what happens is an investigation can be ordered and an investigator can come and conduct an in-home interview. The investigator would write a report up documenting what the child said and that would be presented to the court. But at that age the child wouldn’t be able to testify before the judge.

And while I have been practicing law as a divorce attorney for many years, I learned volumes about the process and what it does to children just by going through my own difficult divorce.

I sincerely believe babies do understand what is going on. When I was going through a divorce with my ex, my son was just 6 months old. My daughter was not even 2 years old yet. And going through our custody exchanges, and because we had so much negative energy against each other, my children were almost always crying at every single custody exchange.

If I dropped the kids off with at my mom’s house, they didn’t cry like that. So, during our parent exchanges they’d be crying their eyes out. They were babies. They couldn’t speak, but they could feel their negative energy between us. They knew something was going on.

The key here is just to be as civil, calm and professional. Your children’s lives really are depending on that.