Is Your Ex Bribing the Children?Family Law | 04.22.15
Parents have been known to shower gifts, material goods, or just plain old cash on children in order to ensure the children will want to live with them rather than the other parent. While many parents in a custody dispute will engage in bribery to some extent, other parents take the practice to an entirely new level. Some parents have even been known to either use their children’s pets to get what they want or use those pets in retaliation for not getting what they wanted. Parents have even bought their children a much-longed-for pet when the custody battle begins, in order to influence the children’s wishes about where they want to live.
Taking the bribery issue to a whole new level, these parents may even refuse to allow the child to take the pet with them if a change in custody is ordered by the court. In one instance, a father bought kittens for his two daughters. The kittens lived at dad’s house where the girls visited every other weekend. On a weekend the girls were with him, the father made the bad decision to drink and drive—with the girls in the vehicle. He was cited for DUI, and the mother asked that the father no longer have unsupervised visitation in order to ensure the safety of her girls. The father then told the girls that if their mother refused to allow visitation he would have no choice but to have their beloved kittens put to sleep. Of course this is at the extreme end of the bribery scale, and would be considered by most to be cruel as well.
Bribery—Subtle or Overt?
Manipulations and bribery can be very subtle as well. The parent may look sad and distressed when the child goes to visit the other parent in order to make the child feel guilty. In fact, the subtle forms of manipulation and bribery can work just about as well as the more blatant types. A savvy child may recognize blatant bribery and resist, but may not recognize the more subtle forms.
In some cases, a parent may think the other parent is using bribery, but there may be more going on. As an example, many older children basically want to have one home as a matter of convenience. Children twelve and older want to be around their friends and their regular activities; therefore, having to split their time between two homes may simply not be something they want to do. An older child may also want to change the custody agreement because he or she believes the other parent’s home will be a place to stay up later, have less discipline, or be required to do fewer chores. Is your ex bribing the children?
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