Children of Divorce

Today, in the Los Angeles Times there’s a short blurb about a Washington State man charged with assault for branding his three children.  Yes, branding…as in what one does to cattle.  Divorced dad Mark Seamand branded all three of his kids with the letters “SK” as in “Seamands Kids.”  His oldest who is 18 gave her consent and the younger sons will testify in their dad’s defense.  They are “proud of their brands.”    Needless to say, Mom was shocked.

In my own practice, I’ve seen a lot.  Only recently, the son of client mater-of-factly disclosed that his mom uses handcuffs on his three year old and eighteen month old brothers to “keep them from touching stuff.”

Another child reports that he smoked “pot” with his dad to be cool.  Yet another was promised new breasts at sixteen if she lived with that parent.

Although the foregoing seems out of the realm of the usual, it’s only a short step from the usual techniques of persuasion by a parent in trying to convince a child to choose one parent over the other.  Parents of divorce get caught up in ownership over their children. 

 Literary research substantiates the detrimental and life long psychological effect.  In 2008 the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) declared a public health crisis and resolved to improve the live of children and families through the resolution of family conflict.

In California the Elkins Family Law Task Force made recommendations to revamp divorce court with a focus on reducing conflict, streamlining the process, and protecting children.  The courts are just now starting to make changes in spite of the severe reduction of financial resources.

Approximately fifty percent of marriages end in divorce. California has about 9.5 million children and half are impacted by their parent’s actions because of divorce, domestic violence or paternity cases.

This new direction will focus on protecting our children and giving them a voice.  Finally.

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Published in: on May 13, 2010 at 10:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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