Divorce is something that no one expects to ever go through, and when we do it can be hurtful and challenging. The end of a loving union will always be heartbreaking and difficult to handle however when you also have children in the divorce mix, things can become very complicated.
In general, divorce settlements are relatively simple. But when you add a child or children to the proceedings there is a whole extra set of hurdles such as custody and the child’s emotions. A family breaking apart will be hard for any child, and this is why today we want to help you understand how to deal with a divorce without getting the kids involved.
Leave the Kids Out of Your Divorce
A divorce might be stressful for you, but for a child, it can be a whole other ballgame. A child will be losing their whole lifestyle and one of their parents won’t be around any longer. It is a huge change for them and this is why it is better for you to leave them out of the proceedings so as not to affect their mental health any further. Of course, you need to always keep your child informed of what is going on, and make sure they know who is living where and what is happening, just don’t focus on the why because this is where it can become complex and emotional.
Make Sure Kids Know it’s Not Their Fault
For a child, divorce is something they will blame themselves. When their parents split up and decide to move on, a child will start to look back at all of the things they ever did wrong and compile these into reasons why they are to blame. Ensure that your child knows it is nothing to do with them and your decision to divorce is simply an issue between you and your partner.
Get Therapy to Minimize the Effects of Divorce on Kids
Although you might not think you need therapy at the time of a divorce, it is often something that will make a huge difference to you and your child. The simple act of being able to sit in a room and tell the truth about how the divorce is affecting them is something a child will be grateful for. We all deal with things like this in a different way and often communication is lacking between different parties involved. It is always better to understand how your child feels and why, and this will help you to provide them with the moral support they need and it will strengthen your bond.
Don’t Gossip to Your Child About the Divorce or Their Other Parent
Divorce is a difficult thing to deal with and it is important for you to avoid telling your kids about every little niggling annoyance of the proceedings or every upset with your ex-partner. You can keep kids in the loop but it is never a good idea to share your emotional reactions with them because this can cause an unintended rift between the child and you or their other parent.
Be Civil to Your Child’s Other Parent
Depending on the circumstances leading to your divorce, this might be a difficult pill to swallow. Where you have lost your partner and may want to stay away from them; your child has lost a parent. It is crucial for a happy child that you keep a relationship of some kind with your ex because every child needs that bond with both parents. Even if you aren’t on speaking terms you cannot be selfish and keep your child away from their other parent.
Share Big Events in Your Child’s Life with Your Ex-Spouse
This will be a difficult one to handle, but when you have a child, it is important for you to share the big events such as birthdays or Christmas as a family. This is your child’s life and you should ensure that you share this time with them as well as your ex-partner even if it is hard for you. It will mean everything to your child to be able to have both parents present for important life events.
Now that we have looked at some of the ways you can keep your child out of the divorce and help them through the process, we want to take a look at the hardest part of divorce: custody.
Custody is the decision by the court of which parent will have the child living under their roof and in their care. This can be the most distressing and emotional part of the proceedings because one parent will always lose out on being with their child.
Custody and visitation are both things that a court will decide based on the evidence you bring with you that you are capable of raising your child alone. Factors like income, housing, and safety will come into play here and it is up to you to prove that you can provide a safe home for your child.
Sometimes the decision of who will take custody of the child will be easy as one of the parents might pull out of the race. At this point the only thing that needs to be reconciled is visitation. This will outline how often the non-custody parent gets to see their child.
Non-Parental Child Custody
There are some cases in a custody battle where people other than the parents will want to take custody of a child. One of the main reasons for this could be financial or drug issues by the parent that causes their home to be unfit for a child to live in. People such as grandparents or aunties and uncles can ask for custody, as well as close friends of the parents who may be able to give the child a better way of life.
These battles are a difficult thing to handle in any case and it is important for you to explain the situation to your child in the run up to a custody battle and maybe even leave the decision up to them if they want to choose.