The effect of divorce on children: Helping your family maintain stability

If you are a parent who is going through a divorce then you will find that your case will be quite different from a divorce that does not feature two parents. Parents understand that their actions have a direct and often disproportionate effect on the lives and well being of their children. With this in mind, it’s possible that in the weeks and days leading up to your considering a divorce your biggest concern laid not with paying for an attorney or deciding what to do with the family home, but in breaking the news of the divorce to your children.

Without belaboring the point too much, your children will certainly be affected by your divorce no matter how stressful or stress free the process actually is. If we take into consideration the fact that your child has probably been exposed to more bickering and fighting at home than you would probably like it is no wonder that you may want to minimize any unnecessary stresses early and often during the actual divorce.

What is it about the divorce that will most likely bother your children the most?

Do you think that not seeing you or your spouse as frequently that will potentially harm your children the most? What about the aforementioned exposure to fighting between you and your spouse? From my perspective it is neither of these things. What can be potentially damaging to your children is the ever-present reality for your children that you and your spouse are fighting and in the middle of a conflict that will not be settled any time soon. Seeing you and your spouse engaged not just in verbal arguments but deep seated quarrels over the fundamental issues of your family can be especially damaging to them. Often times, just moving forward with a divorce and removing the long term issues that have led to the arguments can be of great relief to your children.

Becoming familiar with the Best Interest of your children

I think on a general level every parent would, if asked, say that he or she operates and makes decisions that are in the best interest of their children. Even if you are engaged in a bitter divorce case with your spouse it is unlikely that you would let the animosity you are currently feeling towards him or her boil over and affect your relationship with and parenting of your children.

This may be the saving grace for your divorce, in all actuality. If you are able to place the interests of your children before those of yourself then you will have eliminated much of the stress that your children will experience during the case. This means that blaming your spouse for the breakup of your marriage, criticizing their parenting skills or questioning their motivations for taking particular actions should all be avoided while the divorce is ongoing. You or your spouse no longer living in the martial home will go a long way towards decreasing the opportunities for these potentially problematic interactions to occur as well.

My last point on this subject has to do with making this sort of decorum the norm for the remainder of your life. Every divorce decree in Texas will have some sort of provision included that bars you or your spouse from making derogatory comments about the other parent in front of your children. With this future in mind, you might as well start practicing this sort of behavior now so that it becomes second nature to you after the divorce has been finalized.

Avoid alienating behavior

The prohibition of derogatory language directed at your ex spouse ties in nicely with my next piece of advice on how to help your children from feeling the brunt of the divorce’s emotional hardships. If your or your spouse’s behavior towards the other begins to effect your children’s perception of the target of your negative language, then you may be in a situation where parental alienation is occurring. Basically, if you or your spouse are becoming emotionally or physically disconnected from your children due to one of your actions or words then this can be quite damaging to your children.

What exactly am I talking about here? Some examples of alienating behavior include manipulating your child into believing falsehoods about your spouse, purposefully ignoring requests by the other parent to speak to the children while in your care, or displaying rash and aggressive behavior towards your spouse. All of these actions, whether intentional or not, can be construed as alienation. Not only will this sort of behavior negatively affect your children but it will draw the ire of your judge as well.

Mediation as a means to solve issues

Utilizing a family law mediator, rather than the court, to solve the issues of your divorce is good method to avoid the sort of behavior that can harm your children’s psyche during your divorce. The reason for this is mediation is extremely effective in settling cases and eliminating the need for protracted litigation and/or negotiation between you and your spouse. The less time that has to be spent discussing the issues that are the most divisive means more time to spend parenting and softening the blow of the divorce on your children.

You and your spouse, no matter how upset you are with one another know what is best for your children much more so than a judge would. For this reason, if you can put aside your issues with one another for a short mediation session then a more desirable outcome should follow for you, your spouse and your children.

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan: Family focused attorneys for southeast Texas

If you have questions about divorce, family or your children please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan today. Our licensed family law attorneys are available six days per week to meet with you to answer questions and listen to your concerns during a free of charge consultation. We represent clients across southeast Texas and would be honored to do the same for you.


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