1. Encourage your child not to take sides. Don’t blame your spouse for the divorce in front of your child, no matter your personal feelings about the issue. Avoid doing anything that encourages your child to pick a side. Remain respectful about and to your former spouse in front of your child. Save the arguments for behind closed doors, and save your complaints for the ears of adult friends and family.
2. Tell your child it is okay to love the other parent. Tell your child is is okay to love and enjoy time with the other parent. Many children feel that they have to deny having fun or “hate” going to the other parent’s house when in fact they have a great time. Children will try to please both parents so give the child permission to enjoy the time they spend with the other parent, the child will feel happy and secure knowing that both parents love them and respect the parent child relationships.
3. Avoid leaning on your child for emotional support. Don’t tell your kids how unhappy you are or otherwise make them responsible for your emotional well-being. If you need help dealing with the emotional burden of support, turn to a counselor or therapist. Your child will have a difficult enough time dealing with his or her own emotions without feeling responsible for yours. Please don’t make your child your “best friend” this burdens and isolates the child from his/her own friends and activities. Find an adult for your support network,
4. Enlist aid to help you throughout your divorce. It’s important to have a good support network in place as you move through your divorce. Your support network may include friends, family members, and counselors who can help you work through the emotions and frustrations that accompany a divorce. Having a third party to turn to helps you control your emotions and determine what’s in the best interests of your child. This is critical if you’re not able to remain objective and make that determination yourself. Taking care of your own emotional well-being helps you be better prepared to focus on your child.
5. Develop a parenting plan that focuses on the child’s best interests. The parenting plan should cover a range of issues, including:
Process to resolve disputes when you disagree about what’s best for your child.
Plan for contact with relatives and significant others.
Attendance at of participation in sports, social activities, and school functions.
Your parenting plan should be your road map of expectations regarding your child’s upbringing. Having a thorough parenting plan in place helps you and your spouse focus on your child’s best interests during and after a divorce. A parenting plan becomes a legal document that is part of the divorce and custody paperwork, so consult a reputable family law attorney with questions about the legal facets of the parenting plan.
Divorce is a traumatic experience for most children. By focusing on your child’s best interests, you minimize trauma and ensure that he or she is cared for just as well as if you and your spouse were still together. Keep your child out of the emotional crossfire, and create a plan for managing child-care decisions with your former spouse.
What To Do Next:
Experiencing a family law issue can be overwhelming and stressful. Knowledgeable family attorneys do much more than represent clients, they understand how choices made in the legal process can drastically affect life afterwards.
Sandra F. Banks offers clients a No Hassle Family Law Strategy Session to make sure every client gets guidance on how to achieve a stable, secure and happy future.
What’s more, if I’m not the right attorney for the case, you have my commitment that I’ll point you in the right direction. Just call my office at 510-336-2369 to schedule.