Families Change
Parent Guide to Separation & Divorce

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How do I keep my kids out of the conflict?

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Don’t put your children in the middle of a fight you are having with your ex-partner. A lot of parents make this mistake. You should try not to do this. Do not

  • make your children choose sides,
  • say bad things about the other parent in front of your children,
  • blame the other parent for things going wrong,
  • ask your children to keep secrets from or spy on the other parent,
  • argue or have difficult conversations with your ex-partner in front of the children,
  • ask your children to carry messages between you and their other parent,
  • cut down on or take away your children’s time with their other parent as a way of punishing your ex, or
  • use picking up or dropping off your kids with their other parent as a time to deliver legal papers.

It’s up to you and your ex-partner to handle your problems. Your children shouldn’t have to do that. Listen to your kids if they tell you that they don't want to get involved. It can be hard to deal with your divorce and also be a parent. If you’re in the middle of a fight with your ex, take some time to think about whether you’re putting your kids in the middle of it.

The Teen Guide's, Caught in the Middle, and Getting Unstuck in the Kids' Guide can help children figure out what to do if they are stuck in the middle. You should read these, too. They will help you understand how your children might feel in this situation.

If there is a lot of conflict between the parents, the court may appoint someone to represent the children. When this happens, the court decides if that person should act as Guardian ad Litem (GAL) or as the Attorney for the Minor Child (AMC).  Either way, the GAL or AMC is an independent person whose job is to represent only the children. For more information, go to CTLawHelp.org and read the legal aid article, Does Your Child Need a Lawyer?