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Avoid harsh words in a child custody dispute

Divorce is not a simple legal procedure, especially if children are caught in the line of fire. When emotions run high, some parents unintentionally use their children as pawns in seeking legal custody, without even thinking about the effects of their actions on the children. Parents need to be aware of their actions as they settle child custody disputes. They should be aiming for what is best for their children, not for themselves. The outcome of child custody depends on how the parents choose to settle their differences.

Words are powerful. During divorce and child custody disputes, some spouses lash out in anger and say hurtful things about each other, which is exactly what they should not be doing. Divorcing spouses need to stay cool, even as they face marital dissolution. Children who see their parents arguing during this process may not be able comprehend the reason for the strife, and their lack of understanding can hurt them to the core. Harsh words can leave wounds and scars on children, scars that can affect their growth and development. Further, parents who are constantly at war may not be able to co-parent their own children.

Still, these scenarios are preventable if parents can just set aside their emotions, and put their children up front in every decision. When enmeshed in a child custody dispute, divorcing parents should consider going to trial as only their last resort, an expert has suggested. Instead, they might work with parenting coordinators or mediators. Other helpful advice is to take a breath or two before saying that unkind word. Words spoken in anger can cause regret later on, in the meantime hurting a person deeply and emotionally.

When seeking a fair and just child custody arrangement, parents in Michigan and across the country hold the outcome in their hands. For the best results, they should consider enlisting the services of professionals, whether legal or otherwise, who are capable of guiding them through the painful process of child custody arrangements, mediations, and other divorce tools.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Words hurt," Henry Gornbein, April 3, 2013.

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Joseph J. Porzenski
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