For decades, my staff and I have told our clients not to talk to their children about their divorce or their spouse - let them figure it out for themselves. Clients and lawyers don't always act sensibly, however.
From a colleague, I received the following transcript of a judge's ruling/speech obviously made in anger, but right on point. These words should probably be yelled at every litigant in every contested case [not that they would heed the warning]:
2 The court has previously ordered both parties
3 to keep their children out of this case. And apparently
4 you don't know or understand what I mean by that.
5 Can you tell them you're going to court on
6 this case? No.
7 Can you tell them what motions have been
8 filed? No.
9 Can you tell them you're fighting over
10 support? No.
11 Can you tell them what job he's looking or not
12 looking for? No.
13 Can you tell them anything about this case?
15 Can you hand your children support checks to
16 hand to him? No.
17 Can you complain about her and what she's
18 doing in this case? No.
19 Can you discuss this case in any way, shape or
20 form or fashion with the children? No.
21 Can you discuss this case with an adult friend
22 with the children in earshot? No.
23 Can you leave your documents out where they
24 can read them? No.
25 Can you keep them in your desk so they can
1 open your desk and find them? No.
2 You may not bring these children into this
3 case under any circumstances, except when you two are in
4 the room together, and you both say, "Your father and
5 I," or "Your mother and I agree that this is what you
6 should know."
7 Do you understand that your children are not
8 to be involved in this case, in this divorce, in this
9 property dispute, in this domestic violence dispute, in
10 any hearings in any form whatsoever?
11 Do you both understand that?
He didn't add comments like "I don't have money to buy you Christmas presents because your father spent it all on that drunken w____, instead of paying support." And, yes, we've heard such stories.