San Diego, CA asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Washington

Q: Is there anything I can do if my children's mother keeps telling my kids lies and things they do not need to hear?

For instance:

- My children told me that their mom isn't working anymore, but that she told them not to tell me or else I would try to take them away from her.

- She told my children that I didn't want to share Easter with her (which is the opposite) and that I wasn't coming to get them early because I didn't want to change my weird plans.

- She threatened to tell them that I didn't want them going to her birthday party if she didn't get them when she wanted.

- My son comes home and asks me why I don't give mommy money (but I pay child support every month).

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1 Lawyer Answer
Elizabeth A. Arwood
Elizabeth A. Arwood
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Vancouver, WA
  • Licensed in Washington

A: As your question indicates, it is not in a child's best interest to discuss the Court case with children, involve them in parenting decisions, or disparage the other parent to the children. Your remedies regarding this situation depend on a lot of contingencies, such as if you already have a parenting plan that addresses this issue. Many parenting plans contain provisions indicating topics that are not to be discussed with the child. If your parent plan contains such a provision, you may have a remedies, but it depends specifically on what your parenting plan says. If you have a good working relationship with the other parent, you might try discussing your concerns with them, and seeing if they will agree to change the way they talk to the children. Your parenting plan, if you have one, may also contain alternative dispute resolutions that would allow you a neutral forum to discuss your concerns. If you don't have required alternative dispute provisions in the parenting plan, and there is a violation of the language in the parenting plan by the other parent, you might have a basis for contempt. If there is no language in the parenting plan regarding not discussing the court case, not disparaging the other parent, etc. you might have a basis for a minor modification to add non-disparagement type language into the "other provisions" section of the parenting plan. It is usually best if you can work with the other parent to resolve minor issues before involving the Court process. There are a lot of options that an experienced family law attorney would be able to discuss with you. This answer is not intended to be specific legal advice.

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