The divorce litigation process itself can frighten, humiliate and compromise children even when the adults—parents and professionals alike—act reasonably well.
In this excellent article, Larry Sarezky writes that parents immersed in battling over the kids—even well intentioned parents—can easily miss or misinterpret signs of children’s distress. In addition, high-conflict custody/access cases intensify children’s anxiety about the very things that are most important to them, such as where and with whom they will be living, and whether they will be able to rely upon their embattled parents to protect and care for them.
Often parents don't anticipate the emotional minefield that awaits children in fully contested divorces. Their belief that by behaving well, they can protect their children ignores the fact that parents who allow courts to decide children’s issues relinquish more than decision-making authority. They give up the ability to protect their children.