When you are in the middle of a custody battle or have an acrimonious relationship with your ex, it’s tempting to ask your children questions. We want to know what happened at the other parent’s house, what the other parent said about you, what the new girlfriend/boyfriend is like, etc. And while such curiosity is normal, asking your child puts them squarely in the middle of the conflict. They should not be asked to choose between parents and they have no good options when asked to do so: either they tell and they feel they are betraying the other parent, or they don’t tell and they feel like they are letting you down.
But even worse than asking in the first place is then asking the child not to tell. Because while we all make mistakes as parents and while we feel like we are under a magnifying glass while in a custody dispute, trying to cover up a mistake is often worse than the mistake itself. Telling children not to tell someone else, telling them not to tell the truth, telling them to lie to help protect yourself, only does more harm than good and indicates you are willing to put your children’s well-being to the side to help yourself. Owning up to what you did wrong is often the best solution and something your attorney may advise you to do.
Judges know that no one is perfect and we all make mistakes. Many judges are parents themselves and they understand the frustration of parenting as well as the stress people are under while in a family court case.
So when you have those moments of imperfect parenting, call your attorney. Be honest. Tell them what happened. They will advise you on your next steps.
For this or other family law counseling, please call one of the attorneys at Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal. P.C.