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Minimizing Child Engagement in Child Custody Cases

Child custody cases are not always pleasant. After all, we are talking about a child here, and custody can have deep personal effects for the parents. According to the website of Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, the best interest of the child is the top priority in child custody cases, but of course, each parent will think that the child will be better off with him or her.

Because of the seriousness of the case, the parents may rely on desperate measures – measures that can be detrimental to the child. This is counter-productive, considering that the best interest of the child should be the top priority. The involvement of the child in the case should be minimal, because the child may have negative emotional and psychological responses.

Go for mediation or uncontested divorce

If the child custody dispute is part of a divorce case, you should opt for a divorce that is not aggressive in nature. Contested divorce may require a lot of court proceedings, and these proceedings may need the child to be in court for interviews and such.

What makes this bad is that the child may have the tendency to think that he is the reason why his parents are trying to go their separate ways, or at least part of it.

If you go for mediation or uncontested divorce, you are reducing the involvement of the child in the legal matter, eliminating the risk of this negative emotional and psychological response.

Do not badmouth the other parent

A legal dispute can be very emotional, and the negative emotions can intensify as the disputes stretch through many months. Some parents tend to say negative things about their ex-partners in front of their child, either to let off some steam or get the child on their side.

But a child doesn’t deserve to hear his other parent being badmouthed. Children are more perceptive than we think, in the sense that they know whether what a parent is saying to the other parent is true or not. This can affect the child’s relationship with either parent – the badmouthed parent if the badmouth statements are true, or the badmouther parent if the badmouth statements are not true.

Again, it is best to not involve the child in the dispute.

Do not deny the other parent’s access to the child

If there is no legitimate reason, a parent should not deny the other parent’s access to the child. It cannot be stressed enough that the best interest of the child is the top priority of child custody, and it is the best interest of the child to have access to both mother and father.

However, there are instances where access denial is legitimate, like when the other parent is committing domestic violence, child abuse, substance abuse in front of the child, and child endangerment. But there are instances where parents deny access just because they feel like the child to be their own only, or they like to get back to the other parent by hurting him or her emotionally. Either case can be detrimental to the child’s development.

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