Bill of Rights for Children of Divorce

Last week I was doing some research for a presentation I was giving on different options for getting a divorce.    I came across Dr. Emery’s website.   I had exchanged email messages with him a few years back when I was researching the experiences of children living in post-divorce shared parenting arrangements.

When parents are getting a divorce, they often find themselves caught up in their own emotional reactions and focused on trying to undo their marriage while at the same time create a different life.   While the parents are off in the office of their divorce lawyer or in divorce mediation, or with a divorce coach or a financial expert, sometimes the focus shifts away from the children and on to the adults.   Dr. Emery’s Bill of Rights for Children of Divorce is a good reminder:

Every child whose parents divorce has:

  1. The right to love and be loved by both of your parents without feeling guilt or disapproval.

  2. The right to be protected from your parents’ anger with each other.

  3. The right to be kept out of the middle of your parents’ conflict, including the right not to pick sides, carry messages, or hear complaints about the other parent.

  4. The right not to have to choose one of your parents over the other.

  5. The right not to have to be responsible for the burden of either of your parents’ emotional problems.

  6. The right to know well in advance about important changes that will affect your life.

  7. The right to reasonable financial support.

  8. The right to have feelings, to express your feelings, and to have both parents listen to how you feel.

  9. The right to have a life that is a close as possible to what it would have been if your parents stayed together.

  10. The right to be a kid.