Divorce is not easy on any of the parties involved. But it can be especially hard on children who are part of the equation. Some people stay married because they are concerned about the potential impact of a divorce on their children. However, if you have decided to divorce your spouse and there are children involved, you can do what is within your power to make it easier on them.
First, if possible, sit down as a family and jointly tell your children that you are separating or divorcing. This will allow them to see it as a joint decision, may make it less likely to blame one parent or the other and will allow them to ask questions of both parents at the same time.
Second, don’t discuss sensitive topics about the divorce in front of the children, whether it is with your spouse, friends, or family members. This can include division of assets, custody of the children, the reason for your divorce or any other similar topics. Keep your discussion about your divorce to a minimum with your children. Tell them only what is necessary for them to understand that they will continue to be loved and in a safe environment.
Third, choose your words and tone of voice about your spouse carefully when talking about them to your children. The personal relationship between you and your spouse is between the two of you. The relationship between your spouse and your children is between them and the other parent. You should not unnecessarily share information about your marital relationship with your children or try to negatively influence their views of the other parent.
Mediation or the collaborative divorce process can help you and your spouse work through ending your marriage as amicably as possible. Using one of these processes, you may resolve things by agreement rather than having the court make decisions for you. This allows the parties to have an unbiased party representing their interests, but the ultimate goal is to resolve the familial situation amicably and with the children’s best interests in mind.
If despite your best efforts, your children seem to still need additional assistance to navigate this incredibly difficult time, therapy or group interaction for them can be helpful. Therapy may not be the answer for all situations but is known to assist in the process of managing the impact divorce can have on one’s mental health no matter what the role of the person involved. After school groups for sports, music, dance or other hobbies may assist in taking your child’s mind away from the stress of the dissolution of family.
If you live or work in the central Pennsylvania area, including Carlisle, Harrisburg, Hershey and surrounding communities and would like to discuss putting your children’s interest first in the divorce process or any other family law or estate planning or administration issue, please contact me.