There are several versions of the Children’s Bill of Rights in divorce that you can find on the internet. They are all helpful in focusing parents’ attention on the experience that their children might have – something that can get lost when parents are wrapped up in difficult emotions. The one I like best is offered by Dr. Robert Emery, an expert on children’s experience of divorce. He has done extensive research on divorce mediation. Here it is:
Every child whose parents divorce has:
- The right to love and be loved by both of your parents without feeling guilt or disapproval.
- The right to be protected from your parents’ anger with each other.
- 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.
- The right not to have to choose one of your parents over the other.
- The right not to have to be responsible for the burden of either of your parents’ emotional problems.
- The right to know well in advance about important changes that will affect your life; for example, when one of your parents is going to move or get remarried.
- The right to reasonable financial support during your childhood and through your college years.
- The right to have feelings, to express your feelings, and to have both parents listen to how you feel.
- The right to have a life that is a close as possible to what it would have been if your parents stayed together.
- The right to be a kid.