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The Children’s Bill of Rights (in divorcing/divorced families) Posted on February 10, 2009, by

In my work as a Guardian ad Litem (representing the best interests of abused and neglected children), I have always sent this to the parents at the beginning of the case.


  • The right not to be asked to “choose sides” between their parents.
  • The right not to be told the details of a bitter, nasty divorce.
  • The right not to be told “bad things” about the other parent’s personality or character.
  • The right to privacy when talking to either parent on the phone.
  • The right not to be cross-examined by one parent after visiting or talking with the other.
  • The right not to be asked to be a messenger from one parent to another.
  • The right not to be asked by one parent to tell the other parent untruths.
  • The right not to be used as a confidant regarding the divorce proceedings by one parent or another.
  • The right to express feelings, whatever those feelings may be.
  • The right to choose not to express certain feelings.
  • The right to be protected from parental warfare.
  • The right not to be made to feel guilty about loving both parents.

This Children’s Bill of Rights was developed by a member of the Utah judiciary.

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4 Responses to "The Children’s Bill of Rights (in divorcing/divorced families)"

  1. Eddie says:

    At what age can the child or teen choose not to go to visit there other parent, or stay with them on there days set by the court?

    • Paul Waldron, Attorney says:

      This is a great question that we get asked quite a bit. The straight up legal answer in Utah is: 18 years of age. If you are in another state, you will have to check with a lawyer in your state.

      However, reality is that, at some point in time, a teen is going to case their vote with their feet. Utah judges do not always honor a teen’s wishes, so the parent the child is wanting to stay with must make every effort and encouragement with the teen for the teen to go to scheduled visitation or that parent may be seen as encouraging the teen to not go to scheduled visitation.

      The answer to the reality of these situations is very fact specific, so getting good counsel on this point from a local lawyer is likely a good idea. The answer above is given as general legal information and not specific legal advice and should not be relied upon for making any legal decisions.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Question is any violation of these rights illegal in any way?

    • Great question! These rights are not currently found in the Utah statutes or case law, recommended but not mandatory.

      However, that being said, many judges in family law cases will expect parents to comply with the principles set forth in The Children’s Bill of Rights set out here and will admonish, and even sanction, parents who do not follow the intent of those “rights.” Good attorneys will advise their clients to follow these principles with their children.

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