Going through a divorce is tough. Going through a divorce hearing, the coronavirus pandemic is challenging. Going through a divorce during the coronavirus pandemic with kids is even harder. No matter how excited you may be at the thought of divorcing your spouse, the reality of your circumstances is that nobody wants to get divorced and go through that process. As someone who has helped many families in our area manage the divorce and achieve their goals, it is still not a fun process for anyone involved. It can be necessary, and it can benefit families in some ways. However, divorce is always challenging.
There is something about going through tough times with your children That somehow makes the tough times even worse. I think the coronavirus pandemic has sort of hammered this lesson home for all of us. What used to be a somewhat carefree and consequence-free existence for many people when it came to living their daily lives is now a situation where we think about risk and illness especially in connection to our kids. This is a major transition from the mindset many of us had before the pandemic.
Now, if you are contemplating a divorce then you can take those circumstances I just finished mentioning about the pandemic and add them to the context of your divorce case. You will be charged with planning a divorce, filing a divorce, negotiating the outcome of a divorce and possibly going to trial over your divorce. Once your case is done you and your ex-spouse will now have to come together and raise children as a team. these are certainly challenging that you are up to but it will take some effort, patience in time to accomplish these goals.
In today's blog post I would like to share with you some tips on how to get through a divorce with children. These tips will walk you through how to talk to your kids about your divorce when it is first filed, help them transition into splitting time between you and their other parent and then adjust to life in a post-divorce world . So much of the best advice that can be provided to you regarding transitioning your children Interpose divorce life can only be done with specific knowledge of your family. However, I hope the general advice I apply in this blog post will benefit you and your kids.
Talking to your kids about divorce
Depending on how you look at it, talking to your kids about divorce will be the most difficult or most straightforward part of this process. It can be the most difficult because you are expected to talk to your kids about why you and their other parents are going through significant problems in your marriage and why you all have chosen a divorce as the endpoint for those marital issues. This forces you to expose private parts of your life to your children. Introduce them to subjects they may not be ready for as far as their maturity level is concerned.
For starters, you need to balance being honest with your kids and the desire to keep private information to yourself. There is a balance to be struck between providing enough information to be clear with your kids about what is happening and holding back information that can be sensitive or unnecessary to divulge. To be unclear is to be unkind. You do not want your kids to be under the impression that this is a temporary change or that one parent or the other will not be a part of their life moving forward. I would recommend you be clear that you and their other parent are no longer going to be married and living together but that both of you will continue to be their Mom and Dad.
Another difficult part of this initial conversation is that you need to be comfortable listening to your kids and answer their questions. Depending on the ages and maturity levels of your kids, their questions could vary from the superficial (Will I get Christmas presents from Mom AND Dad?) to the very serious (What did I do wrong? Is there anything I can do to change so you don't get divorced?). Your job is to listen to their concerns and provide honest feedback about what is happening with your family. You know better than anyone how to speak to your children about important matters. You don't need to become a different person when talking to your kids about the divorce. The biggest thing that you can do is be present and be willing to listen. Often the rest will take care of itself.
One valuable role that you can fill in talking to your kids early in the divorce process is to tell them about what is likely going to come up in your case. You can provide a roadmap to your kids about what to expect in the divorce and what part they will play within the process. Informing your kids about how long the divorce will likely take and about how they will begin to split time between you and your spouse's homes are good places to start. You don't need to provide a specific length of time on how long the divorce will last. A general understanding of what your family will do in the meantime is also worthwhile to discuss.
The final part of my advice regarding approaching the early-divorce conversation with your children would be to coordinate the talk with your spouse. I realize that it may not be easy for you to talk with your spouse about any subject right now, least of all your children. However, I think presenting a united front to your children is incredibly important not only right now but in your post-divorce lives. As a result, if you can work together on this talk, your children may feel more assured that they are not being overlooked in this divorce.
I will make a note at this point that this last bit of advice is a good one to keep in mind not only for the beginning stages of your divorce but throughout your life as a single adult. Just because you are divorcing your spouse does not mean that you are divorcing your children. Far from it, the most significant challenges of your parenting life are still in front of you and raising your children in a divided household. The most important reason why your parenting responsibilities may not be as daunting is that you and your ex-spouse can co-parent together effectively.
This will take work, however. I have encountered relatively few parents who Are immediately able to co-parent through their actions and words effectively. This does not mean that you cannot learn to do so or that you're incapable of doing it. It does mean that this is not a tool that most of us have in our tool bags that we are readily able to utilize. It will take some work to sort through these problems and talk to your children on a level that they will understand. However, having this tough talk in doing it with your spouse at the beginning of your case can pay big dividends by the end of your case.
Managing the divorce with your children
The next phase of your case that you will need to get through with your kids use the divorce itself. For today's blog post, I will stick to giving you advice on how to manage the divorce from a Visitation perspective. I will do this because I think that sharing custody and learning how to share custody with your spouse is probably the most significant aspect of parenting evolution that you and your family will undergo during the divorce.
Most families will find themselves living in two households during the divorce. The impact of the doors will be somewhat mitigated if you and your spouse remain living in the same residence. However, it is unlikely that you all will do this, so that I will write to you and your spouse living in separate households. Once temporary orders are agreed to in your divorce, you all will have marching orders regarding how Visitation will be split. You and your spouse will need to work together to follow the temporary orders and modify them along the way when changes need to happen.
The best advice that I can provide you is fundamental advice. Both you and your spouse should make sure the children are on time for pick up and drop off. It would help if you did not act like the other spouse has a few minutes to spare here and there in that timeliness of punctuality doesn't make a difference. On the contrary, you should have the kids ready with all their belongings when it is time for your spouse to come pick them up for the weekend. When the shoe is on the other foot, your spouse should make sure that the kids have all their belongings ready to go and come home when it is time to drop them back off at your house after the weekend is over.
Maintaining a sense of stability and consistency for the kids is also very important. You should communicate with your spouse about discipline at one house so that a child does not get off quickly when they go to the other parent's house. For example, if you have spent the school week with your child being grounded for disciplinary problems at school, you should communicate this to your spouse so that they can follow through with all the discipline you have been upholding at home. This way, your child will understand that discipline is consistent from home to home.
Getting through the divorce with your kids after the case is over with
Hopefully, once your divorce is over with you, your spouse will have developed a rhythm with parenting your children and working together to do so. All of the tips that I have provided you with thus far in today's blog post will still apply after your divorce. The odds are good that your custody arrangement and Visitation schedules will remain consistent from when your case was active to when it is complete. The one piece of advice that I would like to share for your post-divorce life is to be willing to be flexible with your spouse and to expect the same from them.
The family court orders are essential to follow. They are designed to help provide you with a safety net if you cannot agree to modifications based on circumstances that arise in your life. For example, suppose you need to leave the kids with your ex-spouse one weekend designated to be yours because you have an ailing parent or another obligation to attend to. In that case, you and your ex-spouse should build up the communication skills to allow for this to happen.
I am not saying that this should become the norm. Still, once in a blue moon, if a situation beyond your control arises, you should feel comfortable working out alternative visitation arrangements with your ex-spouse. All the communication that you did from the beginning of your divorce to the middle of your divorce should have built up these skills in both of you.
Questions about the material contained in today's blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
If you have any questions about the material contained in today's blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultation six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are an excellent way for you to learn more about Texas family law and our services to our clients.