Kids and Divorce
If we didn’t have kids I’d never talk to him or her again. If we hadn’t had kids my divorce would’ve been so much less emotionally taxing. Yes, having children and then getting divorced will not only complicate a divorce but also likely increase the emotional stakes involved on each side. Marital assets can be split, homes can be sold…but your children. That’s when things get complicated.
As an attorney and as a divorced father I can assure you that a divorce will affect your kids and if you and your spouse handle it well, rather maturely, they will not only survive, but in the long run thrive. But this is solely dependent on the two of you.
Here are my easy and non-legal pieces of advice that if followed should lessen the trauma associated with divorce:
- Do everything in your power to reduce fighting in your home. If you need to fight, do it when no one is home or away from the house.
- If there is a third party involved, keep them out of the picture. Your kids see you and your spouse as their world. The time to introduce new people into their lives is long after you’ve divorced.
- Be honest with your kids. If you’re going to get divorced, tell the kids together. Don’t go into the reasoning (if your kids are under 4, this part can be skipped). And when you tell them, do not blame. Kids don’t care. Just tell them that your mom and dad love you or you both very much, but we do not love each other like we think we should and as a result, we think we will be better parents and actually get along better, separated. This isn’t easy, but it’s critical.
- During the divorce, no matter how tough the legal proceedings may get, do not ever share the details of what’s going on, even if your child is older and you see him or her as a friend.
- Whether before, during or after the divorce, never, EVER bad mouth your spouse to your children. You may have strong feelings of animosity towards your ex, but those are your feelings, and not those of your children. Both of your jobs during this period is to love your kids, not appear to be superior than the other, or seek to be the “better” parent.
- This is the toughest for some. Check your ego at the door. Show respect to each other, particularly in the presence of your children. Trust me they notice. If each of you act mature, your kids will see that and even divorced, they can at least see a civil and mature separated mom and dad.
Divorce is never going to be easy. Getting an attorney that understands these emotional issues is critical. I’ve been there and I personally know how tough this can be.