Helping Kids Cope With Divorce

Questions to ask your divorce lawyer

How does divorce impact children? Even an initially uncontested divorce can become messy once kids are involved. Divorce can leave children depressed and insecure in traditional parent-child relationships. How is child custody determined, and what can parents do to help kids cope with divorce?

Determining Child Custody

The Huffington Post reports that 29% of divorced couples reach agreements without any mediation for child custody. In most cases, however, some sort of consultation with child custody attorneys – and sometimes even a judge – may be unavoidable. Here are some things courts and custody lawyers will consider: current parent-child relationships, children’s wishes, parents’ living accommodations, parents’ incomes and ability to reasonably provide for dependents, schools in the immediate area, etc.

Child custody attorneys may grant parents joint custody, sole custody, or – in rare circumstances – split custody. Joint custody may be physical, legal, or both, meaning that children may alternate living in both parents’ homes, and/or both parents have rights to make legal decisions on behalf of their kids. Sole custody, of course, grants custody to one parent only, while split custody involves splitting up separate children between divorced parents.

Parenting After a Divorce

Thirty-nine percent of children reveal that they conceal their true feelings about parents’ divorces, according to The Huffington Post. Family therapist and PhD, Isolina Ricci, told WebMD, “When children are free to love both of their parents without conflict of loyalty, to have access to them both without fear of losing either, they can get on with the totally absorbing business of growing up, on schedule.” What are some simple ways to help kids cope?

  • Keep kids out of adult conflicts. Do bad mouth your ex-partner. Do not talk about money. Don’t ask kids to take sides (assuming it’s safe and healthy for them to see the other parent) or snoop for you.

  • Encourage kids to talk about it. Encourage kids to tell you exactly how they are feeling. Make it clear that they are not to blame, and be there to listen to and comfort your child.

Divorce can be a difficult time for everyone in your family, especially young kids. Carefully consider what custody arrangements are best for children, and – if you settle on join custody – don’t involve children in adult conflicts.

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