Divorce Rules for Parents
Going through a divorce can be one of the most challenging events in one’s life. Not only does this major change affect you and your spouse, but if you have children, they can also feel the emotional strain and stress. Watch this TED Talk with Professor Tamara D. Afifi on The Impact of Divorce on Children.
What you can do to help ease this difficult time is leave your children out of the conflict. You can do this by being mindful of your words and actions that involve the other parent when your children are present. We understand that may be easier said than done! Our divorce and family lawyers in Little Rock are here to help. The Destiny Law divorce attorneys in Little Rock have compiled some guidelines below that you and your spouse should follow throughout your divorce, for the sake of your children.
How to Handle Divorce and Children
- Do not badmouth, judge, or criticize the other parent. When you attack the other parent, you hurt your children. Your children will feel torn between the two of you and this can negatively impact how they feel about themselves. This also goes for the other parent’s relatives and friends. Do not let your feelings impact your children’s’ relationships with those close to the other parent. Let your children care for someone, even if you don’t.
- Be mindful of who is around when speaking about a divorce or custody issue. Although you may not be talking directly to the children, they hear everything. They are like sponges soaking up information even when you think they aren’t.
- Try to maintain composure when the children are present. If you have negative thoughts, words, or feelings about the other parent, children pick up on those cues as well.
- Do not let anyone else speak about divorce issues, custody issues, or negative opinions about the other parent while in the presence or earshot of your children.
- Do not talk about the divorce or other adult issues with your children as if they are your confidants. Rarely is it ever in the best interest of children to be exposed to information regarding the specifics of your divorce. Children should not be made to feel responsible for their parent’s emotional well-being. Instead, share your feelings about the divorce with a therapist or an adult friend.
- Do not talk about money or child support with them, as this can make children feel guilty or like they are possessions instead of your children.
- Do not argue in front of your children or on the phone when they are in earshot, furthermore, do not fight fire with fire when the other parent says or does something damaging. Not only does this cause stress, but it sets a bad example for conflict resolution. Handle any disputes such as child support or custody in private or with the help of a Little Rock divorce attorney through mediation.
- Do not keep your children from seeing or calling the other parent, and do not make them feel bad about spending time with their parent. It is important for your children to have ongoing contact with each of their parents, but when they are with the other parent, do not interrupt their time by calling too often.
- Do not ask them to keep secrets from the other parent or spy for you at the other parent’s house. This can make them feel disloyal, dishonest, and bad about themselves.
- Do not ask your children intrusive questions about other parent’s life. This puts them in an uncomfortable position where they may feel conflicted about what they should share.
- Do not have your children deliver messages to the other parent, verbal or written. This can make them feel anxious about their parent’s reaction, or they may read the note which could include details they do not need to know. There are many forms of communication that do not require your children to be the “middle man.”
- Do not blame the other parent for the divorce or the things wrong in your life. Children should not be made to feel sorry for you or feel like they need to defend the other parent.
- Do not ignore or sit far away from the other parent when at school, sports, or public events, as this can make children feel uncomfortable and embarrassed. It is best to try to have a cordial co-parenting relationship.
- Realize that your children now have two homes, and allow them to bring items back and forth between their homes. This may help make their new living situation feel a little more consistent. However, do not put them in the position where they feel they have to choose by asking them where they like living better.
- Do not try to buy your children’s’ love or outdo the other parent. Moreover, do not use guilt or try to pressure them to “love you more.” They love you both and it should not be a competition.
- Let your children see each of you as much as possible. Keeping a strong, positive relationship with both parents helps children cope with divorce. Try to be inclusive and flexible with the other parent, even when it’s not part of the regular schedule. Inform the other parent of special events, school functions, or extracurricular activities whenever possible.
- If you need help managing a difficult co-parenting relationship, there are many tools available to assist you, including but not limited to individual therapy, co-parenting counseling/therapy, and parenting apps to help make communications between you and the other parent less emotional and more productive.
Contact Our Arkansas Divorce Lawyers
At Destiny Law, we are committed to helping our clients navigate the divorce process and get to the best possible outcome for the entire family while also protecting their rights. If you are ending your marriage, you need to have a trusted divorce lawyer by your side. Let us help you through this complicated life change.
Our Little Rock and Hot Springs, Arkansas divorce lawyers offer one-hour consultations for a set fee to evaluate your case with you. We will explain to you how divorce law works and provide you with an overview of your rights. After this consultation, the required retainer and costs can then be estimated.Contact Our Divorce Lawyers