Child Custody, Visitation & Relocation

Child Custody & Visitation – Children’s Bill of Rights in a Divorce

The best interest of the children means what a judge says it means, but courts go to extraordinary measures to protect a minor child. For example, in many jurisdictions the judges tacitly or explicitly consider what is called “Children’s Bill of Rights” in contested custody decisions.

Here is a list of a Children’s Bill of Rights, which are considered in all custody decisions to be in support of the best interest of the children:

  • A continuing relationship with both parents
  • Being seen not as a piece of property, but as a human being recognized to have unique feelings, ideas, and desires consistent with that of an individual
  • Continuing care and proper guidance from each parent
  • Not to be unduly influenced by either parent to view the other parent differently
  • Expressed love, friendship, and respect for both parents
  • Freedom from having to hide those stated emotions or made to be ashamed of such
  • An explanation that the impending action of divorce was in no way caused by the child’s actions
  • Not being the subject and/or source of any and all arguments
  • Continuing, honest feedback with respect to the divorce process and its impact on the changing relationships of the family
  • Maintenance of regular contact with both parents and a clear explanation for any change in plans and/or cancellations
  • Enjoyment of a pleasurable relationship with both parents, never to be employed as a manipulative bargaining tool

While the language may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, the logic is clear:

  • The divorce is not the fault or responsibility of the child.
  • Both parents, the custodial and the noncustodial, are important to the child’s well being.
  • A child is not property, and his or her custodial parent does not own him or her. The child is not to be enlisted as an ally or spy in continuing disputes between his parents.
  • The “expressed love, friendship and respect” of both parents is equally important.
  • The impending divorce ends the marriage of his or her parents; it does not end their parental responsibilities to the child.

Reference: Divorce Source, Inc.

Filed Under: Child Custody; Family Law

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