Respecting The Voice Of The Child In Divorce
In U.S. divorces, the voice of the child is absent in most cases. Studies show that a majority of children report they had no input into any of the arrangements their parents made during the separation process — arrangements that directly affect them. These children expressed a desire to have more opportunity for their ideas and wishes to be heard.
Research shows that in cases where children have provided input, both the children and their parents are reportedly more likely to be satisfied with the levels of parent contact and parenting schedules.
I am a trained mediator as well as a San Jose child custody and visitation attorney with more than 29 years of experience. I am deeply committed to helping the parents and children of separating families in Northern California. Please call the Law Office of Tammara S. Bloom at 408-377-2817 to schedule an appointment.
Should Your Child Be A Part Of The Divorce Mediation?
As a family law mediator, my goal is to increase the ability of children to cope successfully with the stress and disruption of their parents’ separation. I provide education and support for parents so they can effectively communicate with their children about their separation/divorce. Many parents’ chief concern when divorcing is protecting their children from the stress that the parents themselves may be feeling.
I am experienced in conducting structured child interviews to obtain direct input from children so that the voice of the child can be taken into account when parents are creating or modifying parenting plans.
What Children Want From Divorcing Parents
What do children of separating parents want their parents to know? They want:
- Parents to know how important each parent is to them
- To be able to love each parent without parental disapproval or interference
- Their parents to understand how painful and stressful it is when parents argue in their presence and when a parent’s reactions communicate that parent’s anger, hatred or disapproval of the other parent
- To be involved and heard in some way regarding matters that affect them such as parenting schedules or living arrangements that are being developed by their parents or the court
- More flexibility, and they wish their important adolescent activities would be accommodated by both parents
- To be able to talk more freely about how the arrangements are working for them — and to make suggestions for change when necessary
Children understand the difference between providing input (having a voice) and making a decision. They overwhelmingly want their parents or others in authority to make the decisions about custody and schedules, but they want to be able to express their views and needs, and know that their voices have been heard. Children whose voices are heard have reported improved contact and better communication with both parents.