Depending upon your situation, your divorce can represent a significant sense of loss and grief or it can signal the start of something better and a chance at happiness. No matter its impact on you and your spouse, it’s essential that you use special care if you have children who will be affected. Depending upon their ages and your situation, your children may not understand what is happening. For older children who have watched the marriage deteriorate, your divorce may come as a relief. But kids who have been unaware of things breaking down may react very poorly to the idea of your split. Most kids survive divorce just fine and are fully adjusted within two years of the marriage’s breakup, but others have a harder time. This usually happens when the parents involve them in antagonism or blame or leave them uninformed rather than carefully helping them understand what’s happening. Here are some tips to help you make your divorce easier on your children.

  • The higher the degree of conflict between you and your ex, the more of a challenge your kids will have. If you’re going to fight, don’t do it in front of the children and don’t make them responsible for your communication. You’re the adults, so act like it.
  • Work together to come up with a way to tell your kids about the divorce. Sit them down when both of you are there so that the kids see that the message is coming from both of you and that you’re both still their parents, even if you aren’t going to be married to each other anymore.
  • Make sure that your kids know that the divorce is not their fault. You don’t need to go into details, just let them know that it’s between the two of you and that you both love them and will be there for them.
  • Give them time to process. Start doing things with them separately and let them know about a move or one of you moving out well beforehand. If they are going to have a new room in a new location, let them help decorate it so that they feel some ownership and a sense of personal space.
  • If the kids are having trouble — and even if they seem fine — get them to a family therapist so that they can speak to a neutral third party about their fears and feelings.

Your divorce is not a contest or your children’s affection. They need both of you and will do better if they stay in close contact with each of you, so unless there is some danger in letting your child be with your spouse, don’t try to keep your kids from your ex.

If you need assistance with any part of your divorce, we can help. Contact our compassionate attorneys today to set up an appointment.

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