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Looking out for your children during a Texas divorce

So much of our concern during a
divorce is in regard to the law, strategy, negotiation and analyzing the playing
field as it pertains to your case. Did you pick the “right”
attorney? Does the judge like you and your case? Is your spouse going
to work with you to resolve the issues through settlement or are you likely
going to have to take your case to trial? What does the Family Code have
to say about your ability to qualify for spousal maintenance?

These are all relevant and important questions to have as you approach
a divorce. However- have you considered the effect that your divorce will
have on your children? What forethought have you given as to how your
case will affect them? Today’s blog post from the
Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC will detail the extent to which you can take steps to protect your children
during a Texas divorce.

Conflict in a divorce can lead your children to not be able to see a positive
vision for the future

Your children likely do not understand why you and your spouse are getting
a divorce, and probably understand even less about what the divorce will
mean for them. In fact, many children have the incorrect impression that
they are the cause of their parents’ divorce. How can you avoid
causing your children to adopt these sorts of incorrect and extremely
hurtful thoughts when it comes to divorce?

Do not put your children in the middle of your arguments. Your children
are not to blame for your divorce. A good way to confuse your child into
thinking that he or she is the cause of your divorce is to constantly
put them between you and your spouse during arguments. Having your child
choose a side to fight for can be extremely detrimental to the development
of your child. Your child is not in a position to weigh in on which parent,
you or your spouse, is in the right on any particular issue. They are
not the arbitrator, mediator or judge of your case.

Secondly, even getting into arguments with your spouse while your child
is in the room can be hurtful to your child. Hearing how their parents
fight and cannot get along will instill a sense of unease and takes away
from your ability to foster confidence and self esteem in your child.
They look up to you for your ability to resolve conflict and breed a sense
of cohesion and calm. If your habits show you to be a person who is constantly
at odds with your spouse. It just so happens that your child looks to
you and your spouse as pillars in his or her life. Do not rob your child
of these pillars in a time where he or she needs you to be a strong role model.

Use your words- in a productive manner

Attempt to talk to your children together- as a team- even if it is difficult.
You do not have to see eye to eye on every, or even most, issues related
to your divorce. The fact is that you and your spouse likely agree on
very little regarding your divorce case. One thing that I can almost promise
you that you both agree on is that you both want what is best for your
child. Consistency and stability are two of the key hallmarks that children
look towards their parents for. Even in the middle of a divorce you can
instill these values within your children by being there for them- alongside
your spouse.

Sit down with your children with your spouse and talk to them on their
level. Obviously the way that you would talk to your teenage children
about divorce is different from how you would talk to your child who is
in elementary school. The key is to explain things as clearly and objectively
as possible without giving your child any false belief about the nature
of what is happening. To be unclear is to be unkind as I like to say.
Affirm that you and your spouse both love your children more than anything
in the world, and that this will not change. Allow your spouse to talk
just as much as you do. Avoid getting into the specifics of what your
case will look like. Avoid any topic that could lead to disagreements
or fighting between you and your spouse. The bottom line is that there
is a lot of good that can come out of a conversation like this. If you
and your spouse can bury the hatchet long enough to allow for the discussion
to take place it can lay the groundwork for creating a sense of stability
and consistency in parenting that can be difficult to achieve while in
the middle of a divorce.

Parent as a team throughout your divorce

Having one conversation as a cohesive unit is difficult enough, but now
I am asking you to parent your children as a team throughout your divorce
case. If that doesn’t sound like fun wait until I remind you that
once your divorce is complete you and your spouse will be ex-spouses parenting
your children- as a team! Why not start practicing the skills that you
will need to do that right now as two people going through a divorce.

Setting up common rules and expectations can be an important start. If
your child knows that he or she can get away with more at your home than
at your spouse’s then he or she will use that to their advantage.
Playing you against your spouse, and vice versa, is something that can
be extremely dangerous and can be a real threat to the cohesion that I
have been encouraging you to foster in your family throughout today’s blog.

Above all else, children look for discipline and structure- no matter their
age. In my opinion you would be wise to ignore any voice in your head
that is telling you to “go easy” on your children because
you are putting them through a divorce. The reality is that your children
are a part of your family. When one member of the family goes through
hard times, the entire family does as well. You can do your best to shield
your child from the harshest side effects of your divorce but you would
be wise to reinforce those familiar disciplinary techniques that you and
your spouse have hopefully been utilizing since your children were young.

Avoid a long and protracted divorce whenever possible

Most divorces end up settling in
mediation long before they ever see the inside of a courtroom. This is both by design
and is a result of people tiring of the divorce process and the uncertainty
that a divorce trial holds. What a divorce trial also does is cause attention
and money to be spent on lawyers and court costs where it could have been
more effective to prepare for life after divorce.

You should do your best to assume that your spouse does not have bad intentions
when you receive a settlement offer. It is more reasonable to expect that
your spouse will want what is best for him or her and your children. So,
you can approach settlement negotiations as a meeting of two equals who
want very similar results but are coming from different vantage points.
Telling yourself this can avoid the creation of bad blood between you
and your spouse and can encourage you both to work towards a settlement
rather than a contested trial before a judge when it comes to property
and child custody issues.

Questions on how to keep your children at the forefront of your divorce?
Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC

Many good parents lose sight of the most important things in their lives
during a long divorce- their children. If you are interested in learning
how to avoid being one of those well meaning but distracted parents please
contact the
Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC today. Our attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week
where you can have your question answered and your issues addressed by
one of our licensed family law attorneys.

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Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC Today!

At the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, the firm wants to get to know your case before they commit to work with you. They offer all potential clients a no-obligation, free consultation where you can discuss your case under the client-attorney privilege. This means that everything you say will be kept private and the firm will respectfully advise you at no charge. You can learn more about Texas divorce law and get a good idea of how you want to proceed with your case.

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