You’re done––done with the nonsense, the betrayal, the lies, disrespect, and hurt from your soon-to-be ex, and you’re thinking of nothing else but crushing them with everything you have––just to show them. Get in one last word, the final word.
Are revenge and spitefulness really the best way to make sure your children feel safe and are protected during your divorce process––and all the years beyond?
I can tell you from two decades of experience it’s not. And in fact, any attempts to make your ex look bad in the eyes of your child will backfire and harm the relationship they share with you.
Here are ten “hell-no’s” that you need to avoid if you want to keep the favor of your child and win over the custody evaluator and the judge.
- Do NOT take the family pet or your kids’ stuff from the family home.
- Do NOT drain the joint bank accounts—they are joint, not yours.
- Do NOT be an ass. (This is a three for one….It’s the sagest hint/hack/hell no in this book and a gender-neutral term!)
- Do NOT use unflattering names, pictures, sounds, symbols, memes. Children may laugh (to appease you), but that means double the damage to their well-being.
- Do NOT introduce anyone new to your child before one year following the dissolution, and not until you are certain it is a lasting relationship. Children need time to adjust.
- Do NOT engage in adult conversation with the other parent at any time during which your child is present, especially during transitions and at their sports and activities. Actively minimize all opportunities for conflict with the other parent. A child’s exposure to verbal (yelling and name-calling) and non-verbal (anger, tension, hand gestures, and body is detrimental to them and erodes their sense of self-worth. Do not attempt to discuss any sensitive topic with the other parent (the parenting time schedule, grades, medication or health, etc.) when your child is present, even if they are 200 feet away from you on the soccer field. They’ll know. They’ll be distracted. They’ll feel anxious and embarrassed and angry. Each time this happens, they will pull further away from you which leaves them vulnerable and at risk.
- Do NOT compete with the other parent to win your child’s favor at special times of the year, like their birthdays or major holidays, by giving them extraordinary gifts or once-in-a-lifetime experiences such as a brand-new car for their sweet-sixteen or a trip to Disneyland with their entire class from school. The same is true for pets. It is unwise to buy your child a puppy (as a bribe for them to spend time with you), or any kind of animal, until you are settled in a permanent residence, and the children have had time to adjust properly.
- Do NOT ignore the judge’s orders and continue on a destructive path.
- Do NOT lie or deceive or withhold information from an evaluator, your attorney, or the judge.
- Do NOT coach or encourage your child to express any particular opinion to the evaluator.