Divorce Mediation: #4 of 10 Reasons to Avoid Adversarial Divorce Litigation | New Brighton, MN
#4. Children are often used as pawns when fighting for one’s position in divorce wars.
The old saying goes that “All is fair in love and war”, but using the children as expendable implements of battle is never right. It is simply not fair to the children.
Let’s take a look at some of the things that harm children whose parents are going through divorce.
Children are Harmed When Divorcing Parents:
• Make their child choose between them or ask them to take a side.
• Question their child about the other parent’s activities or relationships.
• Make promises they don’t keep.
• Drop in and out of the child’s life.
• Are inconsistent in using their parenting time.
• Argue with or put down each other in the child’s presence or range of hearing.
• Discuss personal problems with the child or within his/her range of hearing.
• Use the child as a messenger, spy, negotiator and/or mediator.
• Stop or interfere with parenting time because child support hasn’t been paid.
• Are disrespectful with each other.
• Undermine the child’s relationship with the other parent.
Source: Planning for Parenting Time: Arizona’s Guide for Parents Living Apart.
Children do best when their parents cooperate with each other. The reverse is also true. Children who experience ongoing conflict between parents are at high risk for suffering serious long‐term emotional problems. Instead of using children as pawns in a battle with a spouse, it is healthier for all when the desire to love and protect the children motivates the adults to de-escalate their conflict and find ways to resolve their disputes through collaboration or compromise.
Adversarial litigation teaches people the opposite of the skills they will need to create a healthier and more peaceful future – according to Matthew J. Sullivan, Ph.D. Here number four of ten points adapted from Sullivan’s July 2010 presentation to the Minnesota chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC).