Divorce is a difficult time for anyone and can be especially challenging for families with children. As a family law practitioner, I know that divorce does not have to destroy families or hurt children. Here are some tips for parents who want to protect their children when going through a separation or divorce:
1. Minimize conflict and manage emotions.
Studies show that exposure to parental conflict can negatively impact children. To navigate a successful transition to a new family structure, try your best to minimize acrimony and conflict between you and your spouse. Keeping your emotions in check around your children is often easier said than done, so rely on friends, relatives, clergy members, or mental health professionals to help you manage your emotions.
2. Work together for the benefit of your children.
During separation or divorce, your children’s world is turned upside down by events outside of their control. Your children will benefit if you and your spouse can work together during and after the family transition. For example, try to agree on a shared message to deliver to your children about the divorce, assuring them the divorce is not their fault and that both parents love them. And don’t skip your child’s game, performance, or other events just because your spouse will be there too – it’s important for children to see that both parents will continue to be there for them.
3. Identify the right professionals and process to protect you and your children.
Although making the decision to separate or divorce can be complicated, you do not have to navigate these decisions alone. Take the time to research and identify an attorney and process that feels right for you and your
family. To avoid damaging litigation, one option to consider is Collaborative Divorce – a way for you and your spouse to protect your children by problem solving with lawyers and mental health professionals about custody and financial issues.
By keeping your emotions in check, working together with your spouse, and choosing the right lawyer and process, you will be doing your best to ensure that your children can continue to thrive after your separation or divorce.