Divorce can be very difficult on a family, particularly when child custody is at issue. Given that the court system is adversarial in nature, it is not uncommon for one parent to pick apart the other parent’s parenting style and habits. Often you hear comments that one parent says about the other such as
“you never discipline the children”;
“our children are out of control and it’s all your fault because you are at home all day with them while I am work”;
“every time our daughter is at your house she comes back to me sick”;
“our child never goes to sleep at your house because you don’t set bedtime limits”; or
“our son never gets his homework done on your parenting time”.
It is easy to point the finger at the other parent rather than really look at the reasons why a child may be acting the way they do. When divorce attorneys get involved who really try to understand the issues, rather than merely buy into the blame, it is often times revealed that there is an underlying problem with the child that has gone undiagnosed because the parents are too busy blaming each other for the child’s behavior. For instance:
In one case, the daughter came back to Dad’s house after Mom’s parenting time sick, not because Mom was feeding her bad food, but because their daughter had a food allergy that had gone undiagnosed.
Another time it was discovered that it was not that the parties’ son was not doing his homework at Dad’s house, he really was trying, but it turned out that the son had dyslexia and struggled to read and when at Mom’s house Mom would sit down and read to him so it went undiagnosed.
In yet another case the child was not going to sleep until late at night not because the other parent was not enforcing the bedtime rules but because the boy’s ADHD medication was being administered later in the day and was keeping him up. As a result, the parties agreed to work with the school and have the nurse administered the medication each morning to ensure the timing of the medication was consistent each day.
These are just some examples where, as a result of the divorce process, underlying issues in children are getting diagnosed and treated. Had the family stayed intact, the conditions may have gone undiagnosed or treatment delayed. If you have children and are going through a divorce, please consider working with your attorney to help solve your children’s problems rather than use the process to blame your soon to be ex spouse for the issues. Even though your marriage is ending, working together towards your child’s best interests may be the surprising benefit everyone in your family needed.