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 a 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 allow them to continue developing at whatever stage they are currently in.
From a physical health and development standpoint, I think 1 area of your child's life that we tend to overlook in many regards, especially with 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 talks about the eating and sleep habits of your child. However, I recommend that you and your child both make sure that you eat balanced meals and get 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. I tend to reward myself with food, which is a major no, no when it comes to healthy eating.
Instead, you need to be vigilant about your child's eating habits during the divorce, significantly when your schedule may be upended due to 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 dietary habits, you are less likely to focus on your children. Helping your kids to eat well during your divorce will improve their health, increase 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 were a tip that we heard more about from government officials rather than endlessly telling us how important it is to wash our hands. If our bodies do not get enough rest, then there is no way to 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 employ to maintain our children's physical health.
How to maintain solid emotional health in your home during a divorce
The emotional health of our kids is already at a breaking point. Suppose you believe polls that have been conducted during the pandemic. In that Case, 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 due to the pandemic depends on 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 regulating your children's emotions.
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 takes is being intentional with how you act towards your child and a desire to do best for their emotional well-being.
You can also be crystal clear with your child about your love and support for them despite what is going on in your marriage and your divorce. Depending on your child's age, you may even be able to share information regarding your divorce path 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 to confirm your love and support for them.
Otherwise, please do not underestimate how your physical presence and willingness to talk with your children every day, even by phone, can make a humongous difference in their lives. We are used to thinking about divorce from the perspective of parents first in kids second. It's almost like a situation where you're on an airplane, and you are told to put on your oxygen mask before doing so for your child. The idea is 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 to consider your child's needs 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.
Unique concerns regarding artistic and special needs children in a divorce
suppose you have a child who has special conditions such as autism. In that case, you will need to think about all of the subjects we've already discussed in today's blog post and 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 the 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 who likely requires more hands-on attention from each parent than a child without special needs. Whether your child's particular condition is mental or physical, you will want to ensure that you can consistently be in your child's life. 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 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 two 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.
She may want to avoid our scenarios where the 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 have a child an opportunity to take custody of that child if the designated parent cannot do so for any reason. The non-designated parent would have a particular time deciding whether to take advantage of extra time with the child.
If you anticipate that you will need 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. They can help you devise a plan that more adequately maintains structure and stability in the possession and visitation schedules 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 maintaining a schedule for them.
The other main area concerning a child custody or divorce case for your particular needs child is conservatorships. Conservatorships more broadly refer to your ability to decide your child your duties to provide for your child. Within the concept of conservatorships, we can talk about making educational, medical decisions and the responsibility to provide basic shelter, clothing, educational and healthcare-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 and counselors. You and your spouse should be more intentional than perhaps otherwise when it comes to negotiating for rights about which one of you will be making decisions concerning 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 they have made the lion's share decisions regarding that child's medical and counseling needs. In contrast, the other parent has more or less taken 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 a parent to overstep their comfort zone when it comes to their unique needs children. While I would never advocate for a parent to not be involved in their child's decision-making, your spouse may be in the wrong position, better suited to have some degree of final say if they are more knowledgeable than you are. You may be able to use that time 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 made 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. It would help if you spoke to your experienced family law attorney about your options and how you may structure conservatorship, visitation, and possession orders in your final decree of divorce to 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 an excellent way to learn more about Texas family law and our law office's services to you and your family as clients.