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Involving your kids in child support debate

California parents who are divorced or estranged from their child’s other parent may be familiar with the difficulty of putting your child through legal proceedings related to child custody. However, financial and family experts say that exposing your kids to the legal process related to child support can add proverbial illness to injury for your kids. This is especially true for protracted legal battles that continue over child support for many years – involving your kids too much could have a deleterious effect on your relationship with them.

The woman in one case said that her ex-husband went tens of thousands of dollars into the arrears because he failed to pay a significant amount of child support. She could not support her youngsters effectively without that child support, so she was forced to take her ex to court on several occasions. The man was even threatened with jail time because of his non-compliance with court orders.

This kind of antagonistic situation is certainly not uncommon, but the way parents handle it can have a marked effect on the children’s attitudes toward both adults. Child support experts say that the more contact the kids have with the noncustodial parent, the more likely that person is to actually make the child support payments. Involving the court can push that person away, decreasing the likelihood of both financial and social support for the kids.

In the end, every child custody and child support case is different. However, it might make sense to choose an amicable approach instead of forcing your ex into payment through court action. Your kids could benefit from a better relationship with both parents if you are able to resolve your differences without ongoing contentious litigation. Sharing too much about your bitterness toward the other parent could cause your kids to have long-lasting hang-ups about the way you treated your ex.

Source: Source: The Washington Post, "Woman who left son in car wins custody," Michelle Singletary, July 11, 2014

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