Anyone who has experienced the sting of divorce or who is walking through a season of separation knows all too well that it impacts all parties involved. Divorce is an emotional process, no matter how much or how little conflict is present. When children are involved it creates an additional layer of obstacles and life adjustments. Parents are left to rediscover who they are as individuals, separate from their spouse, and do their best to make the right decisions to minimize the negative impact divorce will leave with their children. Children, especially young children, can be very impressionable. It is important for parents to do their best to keep the best interest of the child at top of mind throughout this process. The way you choose to navigate through the separation and divorce process will ultimately impact if children view the transition as an adjustment or a life crisis. 

There are several things you can do to minimize the negative impact divorce can have on a child. Please keep in mind that every child is different and only you know what he/she has been previously exposed to in your home. These are simply suggestions we have developed based on our years of working with divorce and custody battles inside and outside of the courtroom.

     1. Communication

Open, constructive communication is key for a child. Divorce and everything leading up to a divorce can create a lot of stress and big emotions, regardless of how old your child is. Children may or may not know how to process these emotions and need to know you are a safe place for them to voice what they think and how they feel. Cultivating an environment of open communication throughout every step of the separation and divorce process will create this safe place. Find a healthy boundary of “need to know ” information that will keep them informed yet not overwhelm them with the feeling of responsibility to the situation.  

     2. Preparation

This heavily ties in with communication. Children, especially small children, need time to adjust. You can begin the adjustment process before changes actually take place by walking them through what will be different and letting them know it will all be okay. Mentally prepare them for each step of the process and ask if they have questions or feedback along the way. Just as you will have to adjust to a new normal, so will they. 

     3. Perception

Despite your feelings towards your ex, do your best to withhold any angry remarks or shining a negative light on them around your children. Never admonish your ex in the presence of your children, it not only looks bad to the Court, but it leaves a lasting impression on your child. This can be a challenging task, especially if they chose not to do the same but it will not go unnoticed in the long run. Your child’s perception of your spouse will be shaped by how you talk about them. Remember that the opposite is also true. Often, being willing to remove your personal emotions and encouraging a positive relationship with your ex will lead to the same being reciprocated to you.

     4. The Right Custody Plan

The right custody plan will be dependent upon each individual family’s situation and needs. Always remember the golden rule: that your actions should show that you love your kids more than you dislike your ex. Sacrificing time with your babies can be one of the hardest parts of treading through this new territory divorce brings. Do your best to work with your ex and come up with a custody plan that has the children in the center of it. 

If you are looking for a divorce lawyer, Emily Latiolais would be happy to chat with you about your situation. She will go above and beyond for you and your family both inside and outside of the courtroom. She understands the importance of creating and maintaining a healthy environment for your children to thrive in, and she will help you fight for what is best for them. Contact us for a consultation today!