Advocating Children’s Rights
As the divorce rate in the United States continues to climb, so does the amount of damage to the most innocent members of the family, the children. Many of the legal issues and debates surrounding a divorce focus on the rights of the adults, and overlook what might be happening to vulnerable and confused children. Children are often put aside or ignored while the mechanics of a divorce, like who gets what, are worked out.
When divorcing adults are distracted, it’s easy to forget the children have just as much of a right to be happy as adults. The kids have the freedom to choose their own unique likes, dislikes, and interests. After a divorce, children should have a peaceful and conflict-free environment. It is unfair to place children in the middle of an adult conflict. Children should not be made to play the role of the middleman or act as an intermediary between the separated parents. It is not their responsibility to deliver messages from one parent to another. Children should be allowed to communicate with either or both parents as they desire as well as display photos or other mementos that relate to their family.
Children have a right to be counseled and comforted from an outside, objective source. They should receive support and counseling that reinforces that they are in no way to blame for the mistakes or decisions of their parents. Children have the right to freely express their emotions including pain, hurt, and confusion without fear of ridicule or love being withheld.
The laws regarding children’s rights in divorce may vary in different states but some states are beginning to take notice of the insufficiency of current laws to project children and changes are being made. State courts have made real progress with advancing children’s rights in recent years and hopefully more will follow soon.