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NJ-AFCC
The New Jersey Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts

Bill of Rights for Children

The NJ-AFCC Special Projects Committee reviewed many different Children's Bill Of Rights from organizations across the United States.  The Children's Bill of Rights developed by the American Bar Association, Section of Family Law, came closest to elaborating all of the conflcit issues that can arise for children in divorce and family dissolution cases. The NJ-AFCC Special Projects Committee used that Bill of Rights as a model, and revised and extended it to better meet the needs of children in New Jersey, and around the world. 

We invite all professionals working with families in conflict, and those working to assist children in their efforts to cope with the parental conflict that often arises during divorce and family dissolution, to adopt this Bill of Rights for Children in Divorce and Dissolution Actions. We do ask that you give NJ-AFCC credit for developing this Bill of Rights, in any reprinting or distribution of the bill.

BILL OF RIGHTS

FOR

CHILDREN IN DIVORCE AND DISSOLUTION ACTIONS

1. The right to be treated as important and separate human beings with unique feelings, needs, ideas, and desires, not existing solely to gratify the needs of their parents. 

2. The right to not participate in the painful games parents play to hurt each other, or be put in the middle of their battles.   

3. The right not to be a go-between or a message courier for their parents. 

4. The right to a continuing, relaxed, and secure relationship with both parents.

5. The right to express love and affection for, and receive love and affection from, both  parents.

6. The right to know that expressions of love between children and parents will not cause fear, disapproval, or other negative consequences.

7. The right to know that their parents decision to divorce is not their fault. 

8. The right to know that it is not their responsibility to keep their parents together.

9. The right to continuing care and guidance from both parents.

10. The right to age appropriate answers to questions about the changing family relationships, without placing blame on either parent.

11. The right to know and appreciate what is good in each parent.

12. The right to be protected from hearing degrading or bad comments about either parent. 

13. The right to be able to experience regular, consistent, and flexible shared parenting time with both parents, and the right to know the reason for changes in the parenting schedule. 

14. The right to have neither parent interfere with, or undermine, parenting time with the other parent.

15. The right to not be forced to choose one parent over the other.

16. The right to express their feelings, concerns, and ideas about the divorce.

17. The right to remain a child without being asked to take on parental responsibilities or to be an adult friend or companion to either parent.

18. The right to the most adequate level of economic support that can be provided from the best efforts of both parents.

19. The right to continue ongoing positive relationships with the people (friends, neighbors, grandparents and extended family) who were an important part of their lives before parental divorce. 

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This Bill of Rights was adopted from "The Children's Bill of Rights" developed by the American Bar Association, Section of Family Law, and was modified and expanded by the NJ-AFCC Special Projects Committee (Jeannette DeVaris, Sam Forlenza, Donald Franklin, Sandra Saul, Phil Sobel,  Frank Weiss.)

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