Does divorce impact the child? Of course it does. How much usually depends upon the parents. Think about it, a child generally has to go from a relationship whereby he or she has constant contact with both parents under the same roof on a 24/7 basis. Divorce can dramatically impact how, when and how much time a child spends with each parent.
In addition, the emotions that both parents go through in a divorce play a toll on the children. There are many, many studies out there that discuss the negative impact on children of divorce. I encourage each and every one of you if you have any concerns about what divorce does to your children that you read those studies to best handle the situation. However, during my almost 28 years of practice representing people in divorce I have learned that there are many things that a parent can do to make divorce as painless on their children as possible. Although not fool proof ,by following these simple guidelines you will go a long way toward helping your child or children through this difficult time.
First, don’t poison your child against the other parent. Do not discuss the other short comings whether true or false. It may make you feel better to degrade your spouse but that is your child’s parent that they love and respect and you need to foster that relationship.
Second, never argue with your spouse or former spouse in the presence of your children. This means even if they are in the house in another room and you are on the telephone. Avoid at all costs any negative statements or arguments. With the use of email and texting be careful as well because you will be surprised how often your child or children have access to what you think is confidential. Conflict between you and your spouse or ex-spouse hurts your children. Your children are entitled to have as good of a relationship as possible with both of you not just one or the other.
Third, reassure your children that they are not to blame for the break-up of your marriage and that neither of you are abandoning them no matter what the placement and custody arrangement. Remind them by both words and actions of how much both of their parents love them.
Fourth, don’t suggest or force a child to take sides. Not only does it hurt your child but if it comes out in court judges frown on parents who try to get a child or children on their side. Children are not an ally or a tool for you to get what you want. They are people with feelings that need to be loved and respected as well as protected from the divorce proceedings.
Fifth, never refuse an opportunity to spend time with your children especially if you do not have primary placement. By doing so, you demonstrate your commitment to your children by being available to them even if it inconveniences you. The children did not pick their parents nor did they pick the divorce. It is important for you to make the adjustments with your schedule to spend any and all time you can with your children.
Sixth, even if you don’t think your placement arrangement is fair to you or your children, abide by the terms. Your spouse or former spouse is entitled to make his or her plans during his or her time with the children and you should not interfere by failing to abide by those terms. Be on time with both pick up and return of your children. This also helps develop trust with your spouse or former spouse that can be of great help to you and your children in the future.
Seventh, if you have to change your placement notify your spouse as well as your children when appropriate as soon as possible. Do not keep your children waiting. This only adds to disappointment and perhaps resentment and distrust in the future.
Finally, when you have your children spend time with them and make it as pleasant as possible. It doesn’t mean you have to spend money to have fun but just taking time to do activities or even listen to your children can go a long way toward helping your children through a divorce. Do not quiz your children about what the other parent is doing, how he or she is spending money or who he or she is seeing. Don’t make extravagant promises that you cannot back up. Take placement a day at a time and enjoy it without any forcing or without making your children uncomfortable or making promises that will only ultimately lead to disappointment.
These are a few ideas that can help a parent as well as children of divorce. At Krueger Hernandez & Thompson SC we pride ourselves in caring, listening and getting results for our clients. We also put children first and do everything we can to help the entire family through the divorce process. If you or a loved one or a friend need a family law attorney please do not hesitate to contact me for a free, no cost consultation. In the Dane County area call (608) 824-8540, the Sauk County area call (608) 356-3961 or statewide call (866) 455-2993. Please feel free to check out our website at https://khtlawyers.com for more information. Krueger Hernandez & Thompson SC – Where Children Mater Most.
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