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Celebrity Divorce

Lawyer’s View of a Celebrity Divorce: The Kids Come First

While not much of a pop-culture consumer, I do enjoy the Oscars. My favorite moment this year was Lady Gaga’s tribute to Julie Andrews. But what also caught my lawyer’s ear was the mention of singer Hilary Duff’s pending divorce from former hockey pro, Mike Comrie. As with all divorces involving children, I am particularly concerned about their two-year-old son, Luca, who is likely to be caught in the middle.

Fortunately, according to online sources, the pair say that they “remain the best of friends and will continue to be in each other’s lives.” That is good news for Luca. Studies show (and my own years of practice confirm) that children of divorce do best when their parents live geographically near one another and, most importantly, get along. If those two criteria are met, children of divorce generally do as well as children from intact families when they become adults.

Learning to put your kids’ needs above your own is a difficult lesson for any parent, but it is particularly challenging for divorced parents.

Common Parenting Mistakes

1. Speaking negatively about the other parent in front of the kids

Kids are extremely sensitive and totally tuned in to their parents. They pick up on everything. Hearing negative comments from a parent they love and trust about the other parent (who they also love and trust) can have devastating emotional consequences for them. The most successful divorcing parents learn to see the other parent through the eyes of their kids. Is your ex-husband tender and sweet with the kids even if he wasn’t with you? Does your ex-wife follow through on kid-related responsibilities even if she wasn’t someone you felt you could depend on in your relationship? Children love their parents even when they are being awful. That’s just how kids are. As they get older they will reach their own conclusions, but until then, you must treat the other parent with the utmost respect. Try referring to your ex as “my children’s mother/father.” That’s a good place to start.

2. Thinking the kids aren’t listening when they are

Kids hear everything. They may look like they’re asleep, but sometimes they aren’t. They put their ears against closed doors and pretend like they’re watching tv when they are really listening to every word you say. They’re good fakers especially when they want to know what’s going on. Try not to speak negatively about your ex or about the details of the divorce if the kids are anywhere in the house.

3. Not taking enough time to really listen to their kids

Divorce is really scary and confusing for kids. They may ask you upsetting questions before bed, in the car, or even in the check out line at the grocery store. Take the time to pull them aside get down on their level, touch them reassuringly and answer their questions honestly without oversharing. Always reassure them that both of their parents love them very much and always will.

Happily, for Luca, his famous parents seem to be on the right track. So long as they can maintain a respectful attitude towards one another, Luca can look forward to a bright future.

Posted February 24, 2015
by: MFL Team


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