A family divorce doesn’t have to be a totally negative event. Your children deserve a childhood free from animosity and resentment, and you need to work to make that happen. Remember, each child is different, they’ll react to divorce individually. You must discern each child’s problems and deal with the problems, not the symptoms. Don’t make assumptions, talk to your children, and to professionals, if needed.
Lay the Groundwork During the Process
Some will say there isn’t a right time to announce your divorce, they’re wrong. The right time starts one minute after you and your spouse make the decision. Talk to your children collectively or individually, whichever best fits their needs, but talk. It won’t get easier and older children will certainly not appreciate the fact that you (in a very real sense) lied to them for weeks or months.
Take the Blame.
Children experience wide-ranging emotions during and after divorce. Guilt is common, but parents must be clear that, where is blame, it belongs to the adults. Their marriage failed, children are innocent bystanders.
Support the Ex-spouse.
Too many children have been used as weapons to hurt “the ex”. You may have compelling cause to be angry at your ex, but your children usually don’t. Unless the ex-spouse was an abuser or otherwise a danger to them, your ex and each child have the right to a loving, close relationship. Always be polite to and about your ex and never discuss your problems in front of the innocent bystanders.
Take Visitation Seriously.
When the divorce is over, parents should be less stressed, allowing them to build a happier home and family dynamic. Non-custodial parents must make visitation time their top priority. When the children trust that they are your top priority, they’ll understand that (occasionally) plans must change because of forces outside your control. The custodial parent needs that same flexibility — you must be understanding when the ex’s employment or other problems become your calendar problems.
Prepare for the Blended Family.
Remarriage happens, and a little jealousy is normal to the still-single parent. Once again, that’s your problem, don’t make it the children’s. The children should never meet the fiancé, they should always meet the boy or girlfriend, and, of course, the possible step-siblings. If things don’t work out, there will be pain, but it’ll be a whole lot less painful than a new family that can’t get along.
For more information on avoiding mistakes in divorce contact our divorce law attorneys at Walker, Wright & Associates, LLP in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, at (303) 730-0067.