Divorce is a tumultuous time for both of the spouses. Once the decision is made to move forward with the divorce, both parties will need to make important decisions about where to live, how to divide assets, and whether to request spousal maintenance, just to name a few. If the parties have minor children, they will also be impacted by the divorce. Children thrive on stability and structure, and a divorce often means instability and uncertainty. If you have minor children, it is important that you take steps to help them transition through divorce.
One essential step to help your children transition is to refrain completely from making any disparaging remarks about your soon to be former spouse. Undermining a child’s relationship with the other parent, either intentionally or inadvertently, can have a serious negative impact on a child. Moreover, the steps that each parent has taken to encourage a child to love and bond with the other parent is extremely important in the court’s custody determination.
Another way you can help your child transition through divorce is try to establish a consistent parenting schedule as soon as possible. Providing your child with definite knowledge of where he or she will be spending time each day will help re-establish stability and normalcy for the child. Young children may benefit from having a color coded calendar so they can have a visual reference. Older children will also benefit from an easily accessible reference, which can be sometimes done on electronic devices.
Parents should also refrain from discussing the court case with the children as much as possible. The children will not benefit from knowing the minor details of the case and it can cause them additional anxiety.
Parents should also avoid using the children as witnesses at trial when possible. Although mature children may want to express their reasonable preference concerning where they want to reside to the judge, this is a far cry from, for example, asking a child to be a fact witness against the other parent. Children should not be forced to take a side against either parent, and using a child’s testimony should only be done after careful consultation with your attorney.
We have extensive experience helping our clients navigate divorce and child custody. Call us today at (320) 299-4249 and schedule a consultation