Every day with every client I encounter a new story, a new set of facts, and a new set of problems. But there are those days, where frustration sets in and I try very hard to restrain myself from saying, “What the hell were you thinking?!” To keep this post totally honest, I don’t succeed in the restraint part, and I’ve blurted it out – “What the hell were you thinking?!”
Custody matters are always difficult. I am a mother and a certified guardian ad litem for the courts and there are times when I worry about the children who are in the middle of their parents’ nasty divorce action. The parent/client doesn’t hesitate to bash their soon to be ex-spouse in front of me and their children. It’s generally more common when the children are in their teens, but I’m sure even the little ones hear it too. It saddens me and I end up chastising my clients for their thoughtless comments. I explain to them that not only do the comments serve absolutely no purpose whatsoever, but they are painful for their children to hear.
In Madison County, there is a standing order attached to all divorce cases when children are involved. The order, which is referred to as the “Standard Parenting Clauses” addresses the behavior of the parents, and specifically prohibits maligning the other parent in front of the child(ren). It’s amazing to me that there has to be an order in place that actually has to address this issue. It would probably be more beneficial if that order were issued along with the birth certificate, because I would imagine the problem starts long before the divorce is filed.
I know my clients don’t care for their spouse, hence the divorce; but apparently, the spouse was at one time, good enough to marry, sleep with, and produce at least one child with. So, for the sake of your children, don’t perpetuate the hate, the nastiness, and the bitterness.
If you can’t keep your mouth shut around your children, perhaps you are not the best custodian for them. Perhaps, you should rethink your own parenting skills, before asking the Court grant you the privilege of being their sole primary custodian. I do understand that couples break up for horrific reasons, and I do understand that the spouse can be a sleazy so-and-so, but that is not the fault of your child. And, in the end, the child is the most important asset to be divided in the divorce. If you want to further that “divide” continue with the comments while being their primary custodian; however, be prepared because your child will see you as the primary problem.
I found the following Top Ten things you should never say about the other parent in front of your child, and believe it or not – I’ve heard 9 of the 10. But there’s always tomorrow – new day, new client and new set facts and problems.
All good advice, courtesy of Divorcemagazine.com:
10. I wish your mother (father) would drop dead.
9. I never loved your father (mother) anyway.
8. One of these days, so help me, I’m going to kill her (him).
7. I’m sorry I did such a horrible job picking your father (mother).
6. So where’d he (she) get the bimbo (bozo)?
5. Thank God you don’t look like her (him).
4. He (she) was really bad in bed.
3. Oh, he (she) never loved you kids anyway.
2. She (he) is fat and ugly and really stupid.
1. He (she) does not pay me nearly enough child support.