3 Reasons Why Sharing Court Documents with Children is Wrong
How Much Transparency Should You Have with Your Children About Your Divorce?
The oversharing of details of divorce with children by either one or both parents has been increasing. This new bit of information is striking and begs one to ask the question – Why? The responsibility of parents to teach their children how to progress developmentally, emotionally, and socially with age appropriateness at the forefront of training their offspring. Most parents would not expect a two-year-old child to possess the manual dexterity required to cut with scissors? It is ludicrous to expect a six-year-old to drive a car. Allowing an eleven-year-old to quit school would be downright irresponsible. Yet, there are parents who will share the overwhelming voluminous details of their divorce with their minor children.
As a two-decade corporate private investigator, I’ve read through numerous legal documents, answered interrogatories, attended depositions as well as appeared in court hundreds of times. My extensive experience does not make deciphering legal documents any easier. In fact, I find them complex and many times confusing. Interpretation is a huge part of understanding the law and that interpretation requires logic skills; sophisticated skills not yet developed by the average minor child’s brain. Whether the child is six or eighteen years old, they don’t have the prefrontal lobe cortex brain development to understand legal language enough to comprehend what is set before them.
Since this practice of oversharing has become prevalent, I have asked parents why they believe it is appropriate to divulge the details of their divorce with their children. The answers are varied although there are two reasons that I have encountered with frequency. One is that the parents believe they should have transparency with their child and not keep anything from them. The second reason is they want their child to understand all aspects of the divorce. Without any psychological basis, I can attest that this thinking is flawed. Remember when you parents said to you, they didn’t have to tell you something because you were the child? That holds true here.
To elaborate further, there are three main reasons why parents should not share details of the divorce with their children.
- Information overload is unfair to the child,
The amount of information involved in a divorce from filings, interrogatories, mediation, divorce decrees is voluminous. It’s too much for most adults to absorb. It is beyond any minor child’s comprehension. Showing them documents that they don’t understand places them into information overload.
- A child does not need to understand everything about their parent’s divorce.
Parents have a responsibility to their children that a divorce is taking place using an age-appropriate approach. The conversation should include the assurance that the child will always be loved by both parents. Getting into “all aspects of the divorce,” with the child, only serves to create anxiety and fear for the child.
- Sharing details of the divorce forces a child to pick sides.
Whether one or both parents who share the details of the divorce with the child, the child is drawn into the adult conflict which forces them to believe they have to choose sides. No child should have to pick which parent they prefer.
Divorce fractures a child’s family; something they don’t want and have no control over. A parent’s responsibility is to keep their child safe during the divorce. That does not include sharing the details of the divorce. Those are for the adults, and children are not adults. Let your kids be kids.
Navigating the Ins and Outs of Divorce While Parenting is Challenging
If you need help with how to communicate with your children about your divorce or are having trouble co-parenting, I am available for coaching to get you through to the other side.