A divorce will inevitably have an impact on the life of your child. Whether those impacts are to be felt immediately or farther into the future, you cannot expect that fundamentally altering your child's family in safety net as far as their physical, mental and emotional well-being would have no impact on their lives. I think the best that you can do as a parent is to preserve some sense of normalcy and to allow them to continue to develop at whatever stage they are in currently.
From a physical health and development standpoint I think 1 area of your child's life that we tend to overlook in many regards but especially in regard to a divorce is making sure that your child eats meals at regular times and gets enough sleep. This blog post may be the only one in the city of Houston or any family law attorney who actually talks about the eating and sleep habits of your child. However, I would recommend that you and your child both make sure that you are eating balanced meals and getting enough sleep during your divorce. The reality of a divorce is that you may believe that you are justified in not eating well or eating things out of stress or worry. What I personally have a tendency to do is to reward myself with food and that is a major no, no when it comes to healthy eating.
Rather, you need to be vigilant about your child's eating habits during the divorce especially when your schedule may be upended do too changes in your work schedule, Case related commitments and generally for this sort of unpredictable Ness that comes during the holiday season. If you cannot focus on your own dietary habits, then you are less likely to focus on your children's. Helping your kids to eat well during your divorce will improve their health, increased stability in the home and allow you to focus more attentively on your divorce.
Likewise, your child's ability to get enough sleep at night is also directly connected to their overall health. I wish this was a tip that we heard more about from government officials rather than endlessly telling us about how important it is to wash our hands. If our bodies do not get enough rest, then there is no way that we can be resilient against the coronavirus or against the more common colds and viruses that circulate in our communities this time of year. You cannot afford to let a focus on your divorce get in the way of the basic preventive measures that we should all be employed in order to maintain the physical health of ourselves and our children.
How to maintain strong emotional health in your home during a divorce
The emotional health of our kids it is already at a breaking point. If if you believe polls that have been conducted during the course of the pandemic, then you may have remembered that upwards of 25% of young people seriously considered harming themselves during various stages of this pandemic. Whether or not your kids fall into the age brackets where this is a concern or whether your kids have general concerns about their futures as a result of the pandemic is dependent upon your specific circumstances. I don't think anyone doubts that there are emotional problems linked to the coronavirus pandemic and the shutdowns of studying influences like our schools. The reality of the situation is that you have a great deal of autonomy over how your children’s emotions are are regulated.
For example, you can make an effort to always have one on one time between yourself and your kids despite whatever else is going on in your divorce. Keep in mind that there is no substitute for parent to child interaction in avoiding problems with emotions and things of this nature. It doesn't take much effort to throw a ball with your child, go out for ice cream or play a game at home for a quiet afternoon. All it really takes is an attitude of being intentional with how you act towards your child and a desire to do what is best for their emotional well-being.
What you can also do is be crystal clear with your child about your love and support for him or her despite what is going on in your marriage and in your divorce. Depending on the age of your child you may even be able to share information regarding the path of your divorce in a basic timeline for what to expect within the case. Older children will better be able to manage and understand a potential timeline for your case. Younger children will appreciate general information about what is happening in confirmation of your love and support for them.
Otherwise, do not underestimate how your physical presence and willing to talk with your children every day, even if it is by phone, can make a humongous difference in their lives. We are used to thinking about a divorce from the perspective of parents first in kids second. It's almost liked a situation where you're on an airplane and you are told to put on your own oxygen mask before doing so for your child. The idea being that you cannot care for your children until you care for yourself. While there may be some truth to this and comparing it to a divorce, I can tell you that it is also possible too consider the needs of your child first and foremost in many regards. It is especially true when the steps you can take are relatively simple in cost you nothing but time.
Special concerns in regard to artistic and special needs children in a divorce
if you have a child who has special needs such as autism then you will need to think about all of the subjects, we've already discussed in today's blog post in addition to some others that relate to how your divorce will be negotiated and decided later on. For most parents, a divorce case comes down to issues regarding conservatorships, possession and Visitation period we will talk about each of these subjects in detail so that you have a better understanding of how each could impact your special needs child.
First of all, you are special needs child likely requires more hands-on attention from each parent then a child without special needs. Whether your child special need is mental or physical you will want to make sure that you have the ability to be in your child's life on a consistent basis. An artistic child may be especially Navy in this area with their emotional and mental well-being dependent upon stability and consistency while following a routine. As such, you should strive to make sure that you and your spouse negotiate a possession schedule that allows for each of you to have sustained in regular contact with your child.
The specifics of your position schedule should be dependent upon your family and your child's needs. Many families with special needs children 10 to do their best to live close to one another after a divorce thereby allowing for more flexible arrangements as far as possession is concerned.
For example, you and your spouse may be able to negotiate what is known as a 2-3-2 position schedule whereby one of you possessions the child for the first 2 days of the week, the other parent has positioned for the other three and possession flip flops back to the first parent for the final two days of the week. You and your spouse would be able to alternate weeks in this manner thus allowing your child to have sustained yet regular contact with both of you. Autistic children tend to do better in more highly structured in stable environments than non-autistic children on a general basis. As a result, I could see a structure like this working out quite well for your family if it can be negotiated upon in good faith.
What she may want to avoid our scenarios where they right of 1st refusal allows apparent to make last minute decisions about whether or not to take possession of a child. A right of first refusal allows a parent who is not designated to be in possession of a child an opportunity to take possession of that child if the designated parent is unable to do so for any reason. The non-designated parent would have a certain period of time to make a decision regarding whether or not to take advantage of some extra time with the child.
If you anticipate that you will be in need of last-minute changes in your possession schedule due to fluctuations in your employment or for any other reason you should speak to your attorney about this. He or she can help you to devise a plan that more adequately maintains structure and stability in the possession and visitation schedules that you have for your child. Avoiding uncertainty in questions about where your child will be staying on any given night can do a lot of good for your child in terms of maintaining a schedule for him or her.
The other main area in regard to a child custody or divorce case for your special needs child is in regard to conservatorships. Conservatorships more broadly refers to your ability to make decisions for your child your duties to provide for your child. Within the concept of conservatorships, we can talk about things like the ability to make educational medical decisions, and the duty to provide basic shelter, clothing, educational and health care related opportunities.
For a child with special needs or autism it is more likely than not that your child will require more regular treatment intervention by health care professionals as well as counselors. You and your spouse should be more intentional then perhaps otherwise when it comes to negotiating for rights in regard to which one of you will be making decisions in regard to your child's best interests. Do not underestimate the frequency with which decisions may need to be made about counseling, school related options as far as digital or in person learning and things of that nature.
A fairly common scenario is where one parent heads into the family law case in a position where he or she has made the lion's share decisions in regard to that child's medical and counseling needs while the other parent has more or less taking a backseat in this regard. It is normal to want to take ownership of the circumstances in your divorce, but it may not be wise for parent too overstep their comfort zone when it comes to their special needs child. While I would never advocate for a parent to not be involved in the decision making for their child your spouse may be in a bad position better suited to have some degree of final say if he or she is more knowledgeable than you are. You may be able to use that time period immediately following your divorce to learn as much as you can about your child's conditions and catch up to your spouse in terms of their decision-making ability.
Remember that all the decisions made in conjunction with your divorce are done with their best interests in mind. While taking a back seat in decision making ability may not be something that you are overly interested in right now it could be that doing so helps your child in the long run. You should speak to your experienced family law attorney about what your options are and about how you may structure conservatorship, visitation and possession orders in your final decree of divorce represent you, your child and your family as a whole.
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 consultations six days a week in person, over the phone and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about Texas family law as well as the services that our law office can provide to you and your family as clients.