When your marriage ends in divorce, you will be faced with some tough decisions that will affect you and your children for years to come (including your mental health). These include issues like how much time each parent will spend with the children, how child support payments will be made, and whether you should try to share legal custody of your kids with your ex. However, deciding the logistics of custody is only one part of protecting your children during divorce. Read on for four ways to keep your kids in mind during your divorce.
1. Strengthen Your Communication Skills
Studies show that kids who maintain close relationships with both parents after a divorce are less likely to develop behavioural problems. In addition, they are more likely to do better in school, have positive mental health and lead happier lives. While there’s no way you can guarantee how involved your ex will be in your child’s life, you can work toward keeping lines of communication open. If your family is struggling with these issues or others related to divorce, seek out counselling through community resources. Most importantly, try to remember that you’re not alone in all of it; many families face similar challenges after a divorce.
2. Work With a Child Custody Lawyer
Child custody laws vary from country to country and you may be able to find a local lawyer who specialises in child custody law. A child custody lawyer can represent your interests and work with judges to advocate for what’s best for your children. If you can’t afford a private attorney, check out legal aid resources in your area or government-sponsored websites. You can also reach out to domestic violence groups in your community as they often provide pro bono legal advice for clients in domestic violence shelters.
3. Remind Your Children You Care
As you’re navigating a divorce with children, your main priority is keeping your kids safe and secure. That means keeping them happy, healthy, and loved. Remind your kids regularly that they will always have parents who love them deeply.
If possible in your situation, continue to include your ex in some family activities so they can see how much you love each other as co-parents. Then reassure them again how happy their lives are going to be even though their family has changed.
4. Help Them Trust You
Trusting parents after a divorce is something many kids struggle with. If children don’t trust their parents, they can turn to less trustworthy sources for answers and may even distrust future relationships. Teach your children that the divorce is not their fault, but that it does mean changes are on their way. While you don’t know what the future holds, make an effort to always be open and honest with your kids throughout the whole process.
When it comes to children, parents should always put their best interests first, especially amid divorce proceedings. These four steps will help you protect your children as you navigate your divorce.
This article was written by freelance writer Brooke Chaplan, who is based in the USA.