Bill of Rights for Children

The Bill of Rights for Children is meant to protect the children of parents who are undergoing a divorce. There are many people involved in a divorce. Of course there are the two adults who are deciding to separate, the judge and lawyers helping to resolve the matter, and sometimes other professionals such as mediators or psychologists are involved to help facilitate conflicts and make the process simpler. Often forgotten are the children however, and often misunderstood is the role they play or are sometimes forced to play throughout a divorce. In a difficult fight over money, custody, and all the reasons that led to the divorce, parents can easily forget that their children are not instruments in the battle; they can confuse the contexts of their relationships, so that they place their children in the positions of their lawyers, psychologists, and sometimes even judges. While a divorce is difficult and can make parents feel alone, leaving them with no one else to rely on but their children, there are healthier and more effective ways to cope with divorce and include children in the process.

Where it comes from

New York Judges James Brands and Ira Harkavy have expressed that children have rights too in a divorce, and should be treated accordingly so that they are protected from the psychological damage a divorce inflicts on all involved. They have drafted their own version of a “Bill of Rights for Children Whose Parents Are Divorced or Separated,” and in it they list the rights of children in divorce or custody:

1. The right not to be asked to “choose sides” between their parents.

2. The right not to be told the details of bitter or nasty legal proceedings going on between their parents.

3. The right not to be told “bad things” about the other parent’s personality or character.

4. The right to privacy when talking to either parent on the phone.

5. The right not to be cross-examined by one parent after spending time with the other parent.

6. The right not to be asked to be a messenger from one parent to the other.

7. The right not to be asked by one parent to tell the other parent untruths.

8. The right not to be used as a confidant regarding the legal proceedings between the parents.

9. The right to express feelings, whatever feelings those may be.

10. The right to choose not to express certain feelings.

11. The right to be protected from parental warfare.

12. The right not to be made to feel guilty for loving both parents.

Where you can go for help

Although custody and visitation issues in divorce and family court matters are riddled in conflict, it is critical that parents keep their children’s rights top of mind and keep them away from the antagonism and strife of such situations.

The Bill of Rights for Children has been embraced across New York. It can be seen on the New York Courts’ websites and often make an appearance in the final order of many divorce proceedings. We at SupportPay find this very inspiring and believe that children also have the right to be financially supported by both parents. That’s why we created SupportPay, so that children can be protected on all fronts.

SupportPay was created to simplify co-parenting with a stress-free platform to manage child support and shared expenses- directly between parents. You can ease the stress of upcoming expenses by creating a FREE account today!

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