Children of divorce in Virginia often experience a wide range of emotions when a marriage comes to an end. Parents may be able to make the transition to a two-household life easier by being mindful of unofficial “rights” that their children have after a marriage ends.

First of all, children of divorce have a right not to be affected by lingering anger that divorced parents may have toward one another. This means parents should not to openly bad-mouth their former spouse and not discourage their child from enjoying time with the other parent, even if stepparents or new significant others are part of the picture. Also, kids tend to appreciate being reminded that the divorce was not their fault and that there was nothing they could have done to prevent it.

While kids have a right to honest answers when they ask divorce-related questions, parents are encouraged to avoid sharing too much information, especially if children are younger. Children also have a right to express both positive and negative thoughts about the end of their parents’ marriage while also having their feelings validated. At the same time, parents are reminded not to take it personally if a child has certain moments when they prefer to spend some time with one parent instead of the other one. Lastly, parents are encouraged to be flexible with schedules and to allow kids to be kids by not burdening them with the responsibility of handling communication between former spouses.

Should disagreements with visitation and other arrangements occur, parents are typically encouraged to make an effort to work things out informally among themselves. If this isn’t possible, a child custody attorney may become involved, especially if there are issues with preventing children from seeing the non-custodial parent during scheduled visits. A lawyer may also discuss options with child custody agreement modifications if necessary.