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Children's Bill of Rights     

The Children’s Bill of Rights is something I like to include in divorce decrees or other court orders that involve minor children. I think the issues contained within the Children's Bill of Rights are some issues that some parents need to be reminded of regularly. Children are people too. Children should not be forced to become involved in adult issues. Children should not be pawns in the battles between the parents, either during or after a divorce.

Children definitely have feelings and deserve not to be overlooked or exploited or taken advantage of when the adults in their lives are having problems getting along with each other...Even if you are an adult, you do not like to listen to your own parents arguing or bickering with each other.

This list can be included as Exhibit A and attached to a divorce decree or attached to any order in a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship:

In order to minimize disruption of the child’s education, daily routine, and association with other family members and/or friends, parents are requested to abide by the following:

1.  Neither parent shall deny the child reasonable use of the telephone to place and receive calls to and from the other parent or relatives;

2.  Neither parent shall speak or write derogatory remarks and/or engage in abusive, coarse, or foul language about the other parent directly to the child or when it can be overheard by the child;

3. Neither parent shall permit the child to overhear arguments, negotiations, or other substantive discussions about legal or business dealings between the parents;

4. Neither parent shall physically or psychologically attempt to pressure or attempt to influence the child concerning the personal opinion or position of the child regarding legal proceedings between the parents;

5. Each parent will permit the child to display photographs of the other parent or both parents in the child’s room;

6. Neither parent shall communicate moral judgments about the other parent to the child concerning the other parent’s choice of values, life-style, choice of friends, successes or failures in life (i.e., career, financial, relational, etc.), or residential choices;

7. The parents will acknowledge to the child that the child has two homes although the child may spend more time at one home than the other;

8. The parents shall cooperate to the greatest extent practicable in sharing time with the child;

9. Each parent will permit the child to retain and allow easy access to correspondence, greeting cards, e-mails, and other written materials received from the other parent;

10. Each parent will respect the physical integrity of items possessed by the child which depicts the other parent or reminds the child of the other parent;

11. Neither parent will trivialize or deny the existence of the other parent to the child.  Rather, both parents shall encourage and foster in the child sincere respect and affection for both parents and shall not hamper the natural development of the child’s love and respect for the other parent;

12. Neither parent will interrogate the child about the other parent nor will either parent discourage comments by the child about the other parent;

13. Neither parent will intercept, “lose,” derail, “forget,” or otherwise interfere with communications to the child from the other parent;

14. Neither parent will refuse to acknowledge that the child can have and/or should have good experiences with the other parent;

15. Neither parent will directly or indirectly attack or criticize the extended family of the other parent, the other parent’s career, the living and travel arrangements of the other parent, and/or lawful activities of the other parent or associates of the other parent to the child;

16. Neither parent will use the child as a “middle man” by using the child to communicate with the other parent on inappropriate topics;

17. Neither parent will undermine the other parent in the eyes of the child by engaging in the “circumstantial syndrome” which is done by manipulating, changing, or rearranging facts;

18. Neither parent will create for or exaggerate to the child differences between the parents;

19. Neither parent will say and do things with an eye to gaining the child as an “ally” against the other parent;

20. Neither parent will encourage or instruct the child to be disobedient to the other parent, step-parents, or relatives;

21. Neither parent will reward the child to act negatively toward the other parent;

22. Neither parent will try to make the child believe he or she loves the child more than the other parent by, for example, saying that he or she loves the child more than the other parent, over-informing the child on adult topics, and/or overindulging the child;

23. Neither parent will discuss child support issues with the child;

24. Neither parent will engage in judgmental, opinionated, or negative commentary, physical inspections, and/or interrogations once the child arrives from the other home;

25. Neither will “rewrite” or  “re-script” facts which the child originally knows to be different;

26. Neither parent will punish the child physically or threaten such punishments in order to include the child to adopt the parent’s negative program, if any, against the other parent;

27. Neither parent will permit the child to be transported by a person who is intoxicated due to the consumption of alcohol and/or illegal drugs;

28. Neither parent will smoke tobacco materials inside structures or vehicles occupied at the time by the child;

29. Each parent will permit the child to carry gifts, toys, clothing, and other items belonging to the child to the residence of the other parent or relatives and permit the child to take gifts, toys, clothing, and other items belonging to the child back to the residence of the other parent, as the case may be, to facilitate the child having objects important to the child.  The gifts, toys, clothing, and other items belonging to the child referred to here mean items which are reasonably transportable and do not include pets which the parents agree are impractical to move; 

30.  Neither parent shall intercept or interfere with the delivery of appropriate gifts from the other parent to the child; and

31.  Neither parent shall schedule events, activities, or trips that will interfere with or negatively affect the court-ordered periods of possession of the child by the other parent.

 (Note:  In this document “child” includes each child, whether one child or more than one child.)