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How can I minimize the negative impact of divorce on my children?

Divorce with children can be hard for parents on numerous levels. Not the least of these is the fact that you may be worried about the negative impact the divorce has on the kids, and you want to strive for a solution that minimizes this impact wherever possible.

There is good news. For one thing, studies show that the vast majority of children adjust to divorce relatively quickly. They can be very happy and feel loved and supported even if you and your ex are no longer married. That should always be your goal; if it already is and you’re not even divorced yet, you’re off to a great start.

Tips for reducing the stress children face

Of course, you’re not only worried about the long-term impact. You want to reduce their stress as you go through the divorce, as well. Here are a few ways to do it:

  • Talk to your children and answer their questions. Uncertainty is hard for them, so doing what you can just to keep them informed is very helpful. Answering questions also just shows them that you care.
  • Be peaceful with your ex when you’re co-parenting, no matter how you feel. Work to get along, to be civil and to put your children first.
  • Focus on stability whenever you can. Children feel stress the most when their routines change. If you can, try to set up a schedule that keeps their routine as close as possible to what it was prior to the divorce.
  • Don’t put them in the middle by making them choose sides, carry messages, etc. You do not want your child to feel like they have to pick you or your ex. You want them to feel like they always have two parents who love them equally and who are both there for them when needed, even if those parents no longer live under the same roof.

Essentially, you want to keep the children included by answering their questions and addressing their concerns, but you want to keep them excluded from the daily stress of the divorce and the adult decisions that go along with it. With that balance, and a focus on routine and support, you can help them move through this as easily as possible. During this time, you should also know what legal options you have to put them first as you head to court and set up a parenting plan.