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Your children are not messengers during your divorce

After your divorce, or even during the process when you and your spouse are living separately, your children will likely go back and forth between your two homes. In many cases, this makes them natural messengers. After all, you and your spouse may not be on good terms and may not want to talk yourselves, so you'll just tell your children to communicate for you.

These communications could relate to custody schedules, house rules, medical appointments, school events and much more. Co-parenting after divorce means working together on these things, but you may be tempted to use your children to do it.

Experts warn that this is not a healthy arrangement. Your goal should be to shield your children from this side of a divorce. Don't give them responsibilities that they're not ready for or put them in the middle of your disagreements.

Instead, while working out your custody plan, consider what you can do to facilitate smooth communication between you and your spouse. For instance, consider online schedules that you can share if you both want to stay updated on the children's events, but you don't feel like having weekly conversations. Use text messages and email messages to avoid talking on the phone.

Your custody plan can detail custody and visitation schedules so that you don't often have to send messages to your spouse and you're not tempted to give them to your children. Work out a plan that fits with your schedule and puts your children's needs first -- giving them a healthy living situation for the future.

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