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Set boundaries and rules to protect kids from child custody drama

One of the biggest concerns parents have during a divorce is protecting their children's mental health and well-being. Decisions about child custody and support have real consequences for children, and in almost all cases a breakup between parents will mean major life changes for the children involved. One paradigm Alberta parents can use when approaching parenting during a divorce is to consider the children's "rights."

Experts suggest agreeing to several basic "rights for children of divorce" in order to guide behaviour throughout and after a breakup. First on the list is the right to be protected from anger toward the other parent and the right to love and be loved by both parents. Children should also be told clearly that the divorce is not their fault, and to be given straightforward and up-to-date information about their schedule.

Other rights for children of divorce that experts suggest implementing include a right to express their feeling, a right to honesty and integrity, a right to have a say in their schedule. Additionally, parents should consider the importance being able to  spend time with friends regardless of the child custody arrangement. It is important that children have the room to still be kids and maintain their social and personal life during and after a divorce.

Child custody disputes and divorce overall can be difficult on the whole family. Setting boundaries with how to talk to children and what information to provide may help on a day-to-day basis, but the finer points of co-parenting and child custody often require written agreements. Working with an Alberta lawyer to understand options is an important first step to building an agreement for parenting, custody and support after a breakup.

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