Going through a divorce is hard enough as it is. It’s even harder to go through it with children.
As a parent, you might be thinking about the best way to handle things to cause the least amount of trauma to your children and make sure you’re getting enough financial support from your spouse or vice versa.
Here are some basic things to think about when going through a divorce with children.
Making the difficult choice to get a divorce
Deciding to get a divorce is one of the toughest decisions a person can make. It takes a lot of time to think about whether or not your relationship has gotten to a point where there is no way to fix things and it would be beneficial for both of you to part ways.
Making that choice with children can be even harder because there are other people you have to think about. You don’t want to mess up your children’s lives, make them favor either yourself or your spouse, or have them feel like they don’t have a full family unit.
And all of these feelings are normal. You’re a parent, and your first priority is your children. But by thinking through the process clearly and having a plan, a divorce with children can become a much easier feat.
The first steps
We won’t beat around the bush. There are many negative effects a divorce can and probably will have on your kids. They may become more irritable, confused and sad. They may become clingier, wanting to spend as much time as possible with both you and your spouse. They may choose one side or the other, showing malice toward one parent.
That’s why it’s important to start the groundwork for cohesive future co-parenting when you first tell your child about the divorce. Kids aren’t dumb, and if they’re older, they may already have seen this coming.Don’t point fingers.
The last thing your children need is to hear about your marriage problems and whose fault it is. They are already going to be very upset to find that their parents don’t love each other and that their lives are about to change.Say “I love you.”
Drop this in as many times as possible. They are going to need to hear it, and they might not the first couple of times you say it. You need to make sure they understand that you and your spouse may be separating, but your children are still very much loved.Make sure they know it’s not their fault.
In some cases, children may think that the divorce is somehow their fault. They may think if they behaved better or did their chores it somehow would have fixed your problems. Tell them there is no way they could have done anything to stop this from happening, that it was an adult choice made between yourself and your partner.Give them the opportunity to ask questions—or to sit for a minute.
People react to things differently. Your child may have a million questions or may just want to sit with you for a little bit and try to process the news. Either way, be supportive of their choice.
By telling your kids about the divorce as a united front, the child gets a good base to start from when handling the news of the divorce. How to Spend Less Money in Divorce Court: Expert Tips
How to cause the least amount of trauma to your kids
The first year after the divorce is the hardest. Some kids may struggle into year two while others may bounce back faster. It all depends on the child.
As a parent, there are some ways you can lessen the effects of divorce on your child, and it all comes down to co-parenting and a whole lot of support. Here are a few ways to help your child through the divorce:Get help for yourself.
You can’t be the best parent you can be until you are your best self. It’s important you also get the right coping mechanism to deal with your divorce, whether that be a new hobby or going to therapy.Co-parent.
Co-parenting can be hard, but it’s one of the most important things for kids in a divorce. The same type of discipline should be given at both homes. For example, if a child is grounded in one home, that punishment needs to carry over to the other. By creating a united front when it comes to your child, it can give them more consistent ground to walk on.Keep communication open.
Make sure your child knows whenever they want to talk about it with you, they can. Over time they may not need to or they may need to a lot. Either way, it’s important to maintain a healthy and warm relationship with your child, even if you’re not the favorite pick at the time. Expert Advice: When Do I Consult a Marriage and Family Therapist?
Thinking forward: child support
Anyone in California knows it’s not a cheap place to live. Add in all the other costs associated with having kids, and you’re spending a good chunk of change each month. This is why it’s important to understand how child support will work in your divorce.
Child support is the way to make sure your children are getting the best things they can get despite their parents not being together any longer. Child support is decided based on many factors, including who has the children the most and what kinds of costs each child has.
In most cases, you’ll need to get help in negotiating child support unless you and your spouse can come to a mutual agreement on things.
Divorce with kids: A united front is key to a new life
Going through a divorce with kids may be hard, but if you take the correct steps and stay as supportive as possible, your kids will be better for it.
At Hills Law Group, we’re here to help families navigate the rocky waters of divorce to get to a happier and healthier future for both parties. If you’re in need of assistance with your divorce, don’t hesitate to reach out to us on our contact page.