When you became a parent, your whole world changed. Suddenly, every week, every day and every second was devoted to your child. Nothing else is as important as guiding your child along in life so they can become strong, healthy adults. So what is the effect of divorce on your children? You and your partner agree that the two of you aren’t right for each other anymore, but what is right for the children? Will they be better off living in separate but loving families? Or do they need a family that is whole, but not altogether perfect? Ultimately, that is for you and your partner to decide. In this article we will explore the effects of divorce on children and well as strategies, such as collaborative divorce, to help ease the transition. Having a good family lawyer can make a big difference in making the process easier on everyone, including the children.
Divorce Through Your Child’s Eyes
When a child’s parents separate, their whole life changes. “Which parent is going to pick me up and drop me off? Will they remember my recital or my championship game? Will they both be there? Which house will I be staying in? How many of my things can I bring?” These are all big questions and confusing ones not just for your child, but for you. Most of this will be covered in family law. Until then, here are some things to consider while you try to answer these questions for your child and for yourself.
Often couples on the brink of divorce run into the same fundamental problems. They think that in order to divorce properly, there must be a winner. In the heat of the moment, couples might make a rash decision instead of a calculated one over homes and properties. Children can become confused, even traumatized when they witness their own parents arguing. Worst of all, couples often buy into the horror stories of divorce and own them as their own. Divorce does not have to be a horror story.
- Focus On The Family – How Could Divorce Affect My Kids
- Clinical Psychology Associates – Effects of Divorce on Children
- Provider-Parent Partnerships – The Effect of Divorce on Children. What Makes the Difference
- Psychology Today – The Impact of Divorce on Young Children
- Scientific American – Is Divorce Bad for Children?
- Emery On Divorce – The Truth About Children and Divorce
- Help Guide – Children and Divorce
- Children and Divorce – Effects of Divorce on Children
Easing the Effects of Divorce
First and foremost, there is no winner. Sometimes it might feel like it’s me against them, but in reality they will remain a big part of your life and the life of your child. Bring every decision back to, “what is best for our child?” If there is anything the both of you can agree on, it is that you want your child to feel loved and supported. So support your child by supporting each other through compromise and communication.
When you decided to buy your home, get that car, invest in your life together, you took time to consider your decisions completely. Not everyone is emotionally prepared to make those decisions again while they working on a collaborative divorce. Take time to really consider these big decisions together before you come to a conclusion. As for all the little things… who gets the collectables, who will own the bikes, so on and so forth, don’t make those a big debate. Your energy is better spent elsewhere.
To the best of your ability, keep the disagreements you have with your partner away from your child. Studies have shown that children who see their parents arguing are far more traumatized during divorce. Take your disagreements into another room and return to your child after you are reasonably calm. Bringing your child into your argument will make them feel as though they are getting the divorce instead of you.
You know why you are getting a divorce better than anyone. When someone approaches you with a story about their own experience or a story they heard from a friend of a friend, take it with a grain of salt. Their experience will not necessarily be your own. Explore divorce law with the assumption that this is a positive step forward. Court isn’t your only option in divorce. Collaborate divorce gives you and your partner the opportunity to work with one attorney and settle the divorce together. Or you can bring in a mediator who will help navigate negotiations in a stress free manner.
Before you begin the divorce process, do some research to find out what you ought to expect. Many couples go in with unreasonable expectations. Having some knowledge of divorce law will keep everyone on the same page. The less stress you experience through this process, the less your child will as well.
- Parents.com – Easing the Pain of Divorce
- The New York Times – Easing the Effects of Divorce Upon Children
- Only Child Project – Easing The Impact of A Messy Divorce
- WebMD – Children Coping With Divorce
- Mayo Clinic – Children and Divorce: Helping Kids After a Breakup
- The Guardian – How to Ease the Pain of Separation
- Courier and Press – How to Ease the Pain: Divorce and Its Impact on Children
- US National Library of Medicine – Children’s Reactions to Parental Separation and Divorce
At Kales & Kales we always think of the family first, especially the children involved. We are divorce lawyers, as well as child custody lawyers in Arlington, VA, and we can help make the divorce process as easy as possible on the whole family, which is one of the most important things to do when there are children involved.