The Children’s Bill of Rights in Divorce

By Jodi Lord (Play Therapist, Southern Suburbs, Cape Town)


Divorced parents must still fulfill their responsibilities to their children. Children should have rights in divorced families. If you give your children these freedoms, you will have gone a long way toward fulfilling your responsibility as a parent.


Every chilfd whose parents divorce has:

1) The right to love and be loved by both parents without feeling guilty or disapproval.
2) The right to be protected from her parent’s anger with each other.
3) The right to be kept out of the middle of her parents conflict, including the right not to pick sides, carry messages, or hear complaints about the other parent.

The Chronical Newspaper, 19 October 2011

4) The right not to have to choose one of her parents over the other
5) The right not to have to be responsible for the burden of either of her parents emotional problems
6) The right to know in advance about important changes that will affect her life; for example, when one of her parents is going to move or get remarried.

7) The right to reasonable financial support during her childhood and through her college years.
8.) The right to have feelings, to express her feelings, and to have both parents listen to how she feels.
9) The right to have a life that is as close as possible to what it would have been if her parents had stayed together.
10) The right to be a kid.

These rights have neither been defined by law nor can they be protected or enforced by anyone but parents. To fully enforce and protect your child’s Bill of Rights in Divorce requires your constant vigilance in policing your words and actions, your unflagging commitment to shouldering the burdens and making the hard choices that insulate your child from the adult issues of divorce. It’s a tall order, but your children deserve nothing less.


Emery, R.E.  2004.  The Truth About Children and Divorce. Dealing with the emtoions so you and your children can thrive. Pg 82-83.



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