Minimizing the Impact of a Divorce on your Children
St. Charles Family Law Firm
Sometimes, a marriage reaches the point where divorce is the healthiest option for both partners and their children. Although some parents believe that it is in their children's best interest for them to stay together despite their conflicts, it is actually better for children to have productive relationships with each parent in separate households, rather than living in a household where conflict is a part of their parents' daily lives. Divorce, like the conflict that causes it, can have a substantial effect on a child. How much a divorce affects a child depends on how much care the parents take to minimize its impact. If you are a parent going through a divorce, keep the following in mind to reduce its impact on your child.
Keep Adult Discussions and Emotions Between the Adults
Venting is a healthy way to work through your negative feelings, but there is a right way and a wrong way to vent. Venting to your children is not the right way. When your partner comes up in conversation with your children, remember the old adage, “if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.” Your child is under a lot of stress during your divorce and exposing him or her to adult discussions or emotions will only make this stress worse.
Continue to Make Time for your Children
The divorce process is stressful. You might have moved out of the family home or your partner might have left, leaving you to run the household on your own. You are also likely spending time in lawyer meetings and with other professionals, such as your financial adviser or a real estate appraiser. Facing these responsibilities as well as your job and any other obligations you have can leave you feeling like you have no time for your children or yourself.
When you are going through a divorce, it is important to make time for your children. This is a big change in their lives as well and unlike you, who has some control over the process, they are simply along for the ride. Make time in your schedule to spend with your children, even if it is only for a few hours at a time. Go to a park, spend the afternoon playing video games, or engage in a cultural activity with your child and encourage him or her to speak openly and honestly about his or her feelings with you. Your child might have a lot to say about the divorce or he or she might stay quiet about it. Your job is to be available for him or her to speak with if he or she wants to talk, but not to discuss the legal proceedings or adult issues
Work Cooperatively with your Spouse
Although you are actively dissolving your marriage and removing your spouse from your life, your children will benefit immensely if you are able to work cooperatively (in non-abuse cases) with him or her while your divorce is pending and after it is finalized. When you have a child with somebody, you are linked to that individual forever. Although you are only legally obligated to cooperate with him or her until your child turns 18, you will likely continue to see your former spouse at your child's high school and college graduations, wedding, and your grandchildren's events, assuming your child attends college, marries, and has children of his or her own.
Right now, working cooperatively with your spouse means supporting his or her parenting decisions and being flexible about how you share parenting duties while your divorce is pending. When your divorce is finalized, there will be a court-ordered parenting time agreement and allocation of parental responsibilities in place. These are to ensure that your child has a nurturing relationship with both parents. The success of these agreements depends on the effort you and your former partner make to uphold them.
Seek Guidance from an Experienced St. Charles Divorce Lawyer
A divorce can be difficult on every member of your family. If you are a parent going through (or about to go through) the divorce process, working with the right Kane County divorce lawyer can mean the difference between a relatively pain-free divorce and a prolonged, stressful one. To learn more, schedule your initial legal consultation with Attorney Matthew G. Shaw of Shaw Family Law, P.C. Mr. Shaw can answer any questions you have about issues like parenting time and child support in Illinois.