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Guidelines parents can use during a child custody dispute

A child custody dispute can quickly turn ugly for everyone involved, including the children. Sometimes, all it takes is for one parent to believe that the other has been trying to prevent them from seeing their children. However, it's important to remember that during a child custody dispute, there are some simple dos and don'ts that parents should follow in order to minimize the emotional and psychological damage that the dispute can have on their children.

Some important steps that parents can follow include telling their children that they are loved and that it's okay for them to love the other parent or person that has visitation rights. Parents should also encourage their children to talk about their feelings, and if the child doesn't feel comfortable discussing them with the parent, the parent should then encourage them to talk to someone whom they are comfortable with such as a teacher or a family friend. Parents also need to reassure their children that they have not done anything wrong and did not cause the problems that broke their parents up.

As far as steps to avoid, parents should never use their children to convey messages about visitation rights to the other parent or custodial adult. They should also refrain from asking their children questions about the other parent or custodial adult. It's also important that they never ask their children who they want to live with. That's because that is an issue that must be settled by the parents and the courts.

Parents should always try and come up with a workable visitation plan. However, any Virginia resident who has issues with either child custody or visitation rights may want to speak with a child custody attorney in order to determine the best way to resolve these issues.

Source:, "Custody/Visitation," Accessed Feb. 15, 2016

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