How to Keep Your Child Calm During Your Divorce
When you get married, you likely picture living happily ever after and growing old with your partner. However, in some cases, the two of you grow apart and want different things, and the only solution is to file for divorce.
While going through a divorce is difficult to begin with, things become more complicated when you have children — especially young ones who likely don’t understand what is happening.
In order to protect your children and spare them the stress that often accompanies the divorce process, here are a few steps you can take as a parent.
Speak to Them Early On
You may be thinking that the longer you put off speaking to your children about your divorce, the less time they will have to deal with going through the process with you — but that’s rarely the case. As much as we’d like to think otherwise, children aren’t blind. They’ve likely already seen you and your spouse struggle during your relationship or even argue and may be confused as to what’s happening in their home.
However difficult it may be, the best thing you can do is sit them down early on in the divorce process, explain to them what’s going in (in terms they can understand depending on their age), and assure them that they have nothing to do with the reason mom and dad are splitting up.
Avoid Bad-Mouthing the Other Parent
Although it can be easy to voice your frustrations about your spouse, especially if certain issues like infidelity are involved, do your best to avoid doing so in front of your children.
For the Sake of Your Child
Regardless of your feelings about your spouse, they’re still your child’s parent, and, unless there are some very obvious issues, they will always be there for your child. Speaking ill of them can damage the relationship they have with your child and impact your child’s emotional and mental well-being.
For the Sake of Your Custody
Another reason to stay tight-lipped on your true feelings is if a non-disparagement clause is added into your divorce settlement. If you break this agreement, it can affect your child custody, among other things.
Try to Maintain A Sense of Normalcy
One of the biggest struggles when it comes to going through a divorce with children is the changes in their lives—before long, they’ll have two homes, two sets of holidays, etc.
Since they’ll be going through those changes, it’s often best to work with your ex to keep the rest of their lives as normal as possible. This can mean:
Keeping them in the same school.
Keeping up with their afterschool activities.
Making sure both parents attend games, recitals, etc.
Prioritize Your Child’s Needs
Especially if there’s tension between you and your ex, it can be tempting to want to try for sole custody or encourage your child to pick a side, but you should avoid this at all costs. By putting your child in the middle of your divorce, you can severely damage their emotional and mental well-being.
Don’t Make Them Choose
While it’s important to create a space in which your child feels comfortable voicing their feelings about the divorce, you shouldn’t require them to make any decisions regarding custody on their own. From major decisions like whom they’ll live with to more minor ones like where they want to spend holidays, everything should be discussed between shared parents, not children.
Put in the Work to Co-Parent
Sharing custody can be difficult. The more work you put into negotiating and planning the details of your parenting plan, the better off your children will be, having a set schedule and time with both parents. It’s also important to modify your custody agreement to account for any necessary changes in the future.
Honest Representation Through the Maze of Divorce
Attorney Raduns understands the stress and frustration that so often occurs during these difficult times and our goal is to assist you in resolving your family law issues with professionalism, integrity, and compassion.
Schedule a consultation with our Ocala attorney today!