A top-ten list from Bay Area family lawyer Gina Mariani:
1) Do not, under any circumstances, discuss the legal proceeding with your children, regardless of their age. Your matter deals with adult issues that are for adult ears only.
“Don’t do it because I told you or because the judge told you-do it for the sake of your children. They do not need to know about how much money a parent pays or doesn’t pay for support, or what you think lead to the break-up of the family,” says Mariani. This is sensitive information that will make your children feel bad or sad.
3) Never speak poorly about the other parent. You liked the other parent at one point in your life, so try to focus on the other parent’s positive characteristics. Be supportive of that parent’s role and periods of custody, regardless of how excruciating it might be. Never force a child into a position where they feel they must choose sides; your child may end up resenting you.
8) Consistency is your child’s source of stability during this emotional time. Do not disrupt your child’s routine by removing them from any activities that make them happy. Don’t tell your child that they can’t go to karate class because the other parent won’t pay half the bill. If the other parent refuses to pay for an activity that is maintaining your child’s well being, be creative. Don’t be afraid to ask if there is a scholarship available or ask if you can volunteer or barter for the activity. During this time, your child’s weekly dance class is far more important than you ever thought it would be.