After handling over a thousand family law cases involving children, there are many behaviors we have seen that lead to happy children after a divorce. Unfortunately, we also see many behaviors that lead to miserable divorces, and as a result, miserable children.
We are offering the following tips to those going through a divorce with children. By no means is this exhaustive nor is it intended to replace a therapist or apply in situations involving domestic violence. Instead, we offer these tips for divorcing parents in an effort to assist you in making your divorce go smoothly when children are involved.
· Talk to your children and encourage them to speak openly about their feelings regarding the divorce.
· Never tell your children they are the reason for the divorce. To the contrary, you need to assure your children the divorce is not because of them.
· Kids are going to be sad, angry, withdrawn and even act out during the divorce. Try to be patient with your children and understand where the feelings are coming from.
· Explain what divorce means in a way that is age appropriate for your kids.
· Don’t surprise your children with a move, activities or family member visits. Keep your kids in the loop about major life changes like a move, a new schedule or specific activities.
· Keep consistency in your rules. Rules that applied before you and your spouse separated should continue after the divorce. Kids appreciate consistency and so will you.
· Make time for your kids every day, even if it's only a phone call. It is important for your children to know you are there for them, even if it’s just a call.
· Protect your children from the conflict you have with your spouse. Children should not be involved with your property division, support payments or other “adult matters.”
· If your children are having an incredibly difficult time, seek professional help.
· Do not speak negatively about your spouse to the kids. Your former spouse is still your children’s parent.
· Do not ask your children to choose, take sides or otherwise mediate disputes between you and your spouse.
· Set realistic expectations for your kids that include spending time with them as much as possible.
· Tell your children you love them every day.
Again, while this list is not intended to be exhaustive we do hope it provides some guidance for divorcing parents. For more information on divorce and child custody, contact our office today at (702) 433-2889 or fill out our on-line form for more information.