Going through a divorce is a difficult process. When you have children, it makes going through a divorce even that much harder. In the last ten to twenty years, many people who are getting divorced are the children of parents who were divorced. They have a first-hand experience of what a child goes through when parents get divorced.
Many experts recommend the following strategies for protecting and helping your children cope through a divorce:
- The Child Must Be Able to Continue to Love Each Parent: This is the number one rule. Prior to any marital difficulties, most children are taught to love both their parents and to also accept the differences in each parent. All too often, when parents divorce, one parent will either intentionally or unintentionally send signals that the other parent is to blame for the divorce or has issues. For example, if prior to the divorce, one parent was “sloppy” and the other “neat”, the couple learned to live with this difference. Yet, during the divorce process the “neat” parent may make derogatory remarks about how “sloppy” the other parent is; in converse, the “sloppy” parent may make the “neat” parent out to be “crazy” on how neat they have to be. Instead, of talking negatively about the other parent, for the sake of the child’s mental health, it is very important to keep things positive or at least neutral when talking about the other parent.
- Do not fight in front of the child: It is likely that before someone filed for divorce, that you and your spouse may have had your verbal disagreements in front of the children. Now that the divorce has started, it is more important than ever, to be conscious that verbal fighting needs to be curtailed and stopped.
- Make sure the children know it is not their fault: It is very important to let the children know that they are not responsible for your divorce. Too many children, especially younger ones, think they did “something wrong” to make daddy and mommy not love one another. You have to emphasize that this is an adult issue and that the child did nothing wrong.
- Let the Child’s Friends Visit Both Parent’s Houses: If, while the divorce is in process, you and your spouse will be living apart, then it is a good idea to allow your child’s friends to come visit the child at both houses. This allows the child to continue with their friendships at both homes and gives the child some consistency.
- Be Honest: Let your children know that you are separating and getting divorced. Indeed, you should use the words: “divorce” and “separate”. This does not mean you share the legal details of your divorce or separation; however, it does mean that is OK to tell your children that “mommy” and “daddy” are getting divorced and what that means.
- Let the Child See the Other Parent as Much as Possible: If the child states they want to spend the weekend at the other parent’s house, let them. Of course, there has to be some boundaries, but, when it can be accommodated, it is important to let the child see both parents when it fits the child’s needs, not yours.
- Your Child is Not Your Messenger: Do not use your child as a messenger. If you need to send a message to your spouse, you need to do it directly. No matter how old the child is, they should never act as your messenger.
- Professional Help (Counseling): Most likely you are not a counselor, psychiatrist or psychologist, and even if you are, it is important to consider seeking professional help for you and your child, either separately or together. A counselor who specializes in divorce cases can help you and your child through the process.
Many children adapt and do well after a divorce. The above strategies will help to make sure that happens.
David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office remind their clients, who have children, that it is best to follow the above strategies. Not only are the above strategies helpful to the child, they are also helpful in the parties’ divorce. Every Judge wants to make sure that the children are protected throughout the divorce process. If a parent follows the above guidelines, it will show the Court that you are handling the divorce in the right manner and will help you in any child custody dispute.
You can contact David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office at 631-239-1702 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Badanes Law Office represents clients in Suffolk County, Nassau County, and New York City. Our offices are located in Northport and in Uniondale.
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