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When a New York divorce is finalized, the courts may determine that one parent is to pay the other monthly child support. This is done to ensure that the children are taken care of, and that both parents are able to uphold a similar lifestyle. As stressful and complex as this situation may be, it’s best to leave the children out of it. While the children should be protected from any conflicts that are going on legally, financially, etc. between their parents, there may be times when it is difficult not to talk about child support with the children. Such cases may include situations such as the children asking for things that cost more money than the parents can now afford, or the children may simply ask about child support. As a parent, it’s wisest to use your best discretion when discussing this issue to your children. The depth that this is gone into should vary per child, based upon age, and level of maturity. There are also some guidelines that would be wise to follow when discussing the issue of child support with your kids.
Keep It On a Need To Know Basis
Children should really only have the issue of New York child support discussed with them when it’s absolutely necessary. If a child asks, or if there are certain financial situations that arise in which the topic cannot be avoided, it is OK to mention child support. It is not a good idea to discuss child support with the children when they ask for small things like toys, ice cream, movie tickets, etc. This could create a hostile environment if parents discuss child support with the children in a way that makes them feel like they are stuck in the middle of a fight between parents, or as if they are no longer able to have nice things because of the other parent, and the issue of child support. In fact, according to family and divorce expert M. Gary Neuman, putting children in the middle of a fight, or communicating through the children is one of the top mistakes divorced parents should avoid.
Stick To the Facts
When discussing the topic of child support, it’s best to stick to the facts, and keep the discussion brief. Children do not need to know your emotional feelings surrounding the topic of child support, or whether or not you agree with the court order. What they should know is that there are child support payments that are in place to help pay for their living expenses, and that is all. It isn’t necessary to divulge further, or to speak in amounts—especially with younger children, as most kids and teenagers do not have a realistic concept of money, and it may not be relevant to the situation at hand.
Do Not Disparage, or Talk Negatively About Your Ex-Spouse
Again, it’s important to leave the children out of any drama that may be going on between you and your ex, especially those that pertain to child support payments. If a child asks the parent who is paying child support for something expensive, it isn’t in the child’s best interest to respond by saying that the other parent should have to pay for it because they are receiving child support payments. Big ticket items that the children want or need should be discussed in a mature manner between both parents. However, if the divorce was high-conflict and this isn’t possible, it may be best to simply tell the children that finances do not allow for such high ticket items at this time. Placing blame, or disparaging your ex in any way is only going to cause further damage to the children. So, as tempting as it may be to place blame on your ex when the kids ask for things, it’s not doing anyone any favors in the long-run. In an article written by Hanif Virani (founder of coparently.com), he states that putting children in the middle of a battle that belongs to you and your spouse makes them feel awkward, and as though they need to betray one or both of you. It also exposes them to the worst side of both of you—regardless of who is right or wrong.
Keep Any Issues Between You and Your Ex-Spouse, and not Your Kids
If there are issues concerning New York child support payments, leave the children out of it, as previously mentioned. This cannot be stressed enough. If your ex hasn’t paid child support, let the courts deal with this. Do not in any way vent about this to the children. This could cause considerable damage, as they may feel as though your ex doesn’t love them, when this isn’t likely the case at all. On the flip side, if you are paying child support, and suspect that it isn’t going toward providing for the children, this is something you must address with your ex, and the courts … not with the children. Causing the children to feel as though they are stuck in the middle of a battle can leave deep seeded scars that carry with them into adulthood. The best thing you can do when these situations arise is to give your children as much love and care as you possibly can, and do all that you can to alleviate any issues with your ex—apart from the children’s eyes and ears. If you have to tell the children about certain nuances concerning child support, try to do so in a matter of fact manner, without making them feel an emotional reaction toward either parent in any way. This is difficult, but necessary in ensuring the children have a smooth transition after your divorce.