Divorce can be an emotional minefield, but when you have children, the stakes go up. Children of any age, from toddlers to teenagers, can be negatively affected when their parents split up. While there is no one simple solution for protecting your kids through a family law matter, there are ways that you and your spouse can work together to make the process easier for them.
How to Help Your Kids Through a Family Law Matter
1. Protect Them from Conflict as Much as Possible.
Even when your divorce is amicable, there are going to be intense discussions and even disagreements. This is all normal, but try to have these conversations when the children are not in earshot. This is a bewildering and distressing time for them, so do your best to have all divorce-related discussions when they are in school or occupied elsewhere. If your kids are older, ensure that you do not leave any drafted settlement agreements or other legal paperwork where they might find it.
2. Preserve as Many Routines as You Can.
You’re not the only one facing a major life change. Your children are also dealing with changes to their daily lives. If you or your spouse has moved out of the marital home, it means they are seeing one of their parents less often. They may even be starting to divide their time between two homes. While these types of changes are inevitable, you and your spouse can make things easier for them by preserving as many routines as possible.
Try to ensure that they remain in the same school, keep contact with the same friends, and observe longtime schedules. (For example, going grocery shopping with their mother on Saturday afternoons and spending Sundays at the ballpark with you.)
3. Refrain from Putting Them in the Middle.
Never put the kids in a position where they have to choose one parent over another. You may truly mean well when you ask them if they’d rather live with Mom or Dad full-time or how much time they’d like to spend with each parent, but making this type of choice can add more stress to an already-difficult situation. If they express a preference, you can take their wishes into account, but don’t make them feel like they have to make the decision.
4. Present a United Front as Co-parents
When you and your spouse have separate households, it’s easy to adopt your own unique ways of parenting and have personal house rules. Your kids, however, need rules that remain the same no matter whose roof they are under. Discuss the situation with their other parent and reach an accord on things that really matter, such as homework policies, bedtimes, and discipline. Other tips for effective co-parenting include:
- Supporting the other parent’s decisions
- Refraining from criticizing them from handling a certain situation differently
5. Work with a Child Specialist
Child specialists have a background in child psychology and development, so they understand what dealing with divorce is like for different age groups. They can also recognize signs of stress that your kids may be trying to keep from you, and help them deal with their feelings in a healthy and constructive manner. A child specialist can also show you how to put together the best parenting plan and help you and your spouse talk through any disagreements.
Contact Us for Family Law Matters with Kids
Divorce can be difficult for the entire family, but taking extra steps to make it easier on your children will give you and your spouse added peace of mind. At the Law Office of Judith Delus, P.A., we understand your concern for your children’s well-being and will help you orchestrate your divorce so that they can maintain a loving connection with both parents and feel secure about their future. To schedule a consultation and case review, contact us today.