Going through a divorce is tough. Going through a divorce hearing the coronavirus pandemic is tough. Going through a divorce, during the coronavirus pandemic with kids is even tougher. No matter how excited you may be at the thought of divorcing your spouse, the reality of your circumstances is that nobody actually wants to get divorced and go through that process. As someone who has helped many families in our area manage a divorce and achieve their goals within the case 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 tough.
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 be beneficial to you and your kids.
Talking to your kids about divorce
Depending on how you look at it, talking to your kids about divorce will either be the most difficult or most simple part of this process. It can be the most difficult because you are expected to talk to your kids about why it is that you and their other parent 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 that 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 is not going to 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 enough to listen 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 times the rest will take care of itself.
One helpful 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. Basically, you can provide a roadmap to your kids about what to expect in the divorce and what part he or she will play within the process. Informing your kids about how long the divorce will likely take and about how he or she 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 is going to last. A general understanding about what your family is going to do in the meantime is also worthwhile to discuss.
The final part of my advice regarding how to approach 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 then your children may feel more assured that they are not being overlooked in this divorce.
I will make 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 greatest challenges of your parenting life are still in front of you as far as raising your children in a divided household. The most significant reason why your parenting responsibilities may not be as daunting is because you and your ex-spouse have the ability to 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. What it does mean is 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 be able to sort through these problems and talk to your children on a level that they will understand. However, having this difficult 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 the purposes of today's blog post I am going to 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 more importantly 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 I will write from the perspective of you and your spouse living in separate households. Once temporary orders are agreed to in your divorce you all will have marching orders in terms of how Visitation is to be split. You and your spouse will need to be able 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 very basic advice. Both you and your spouse should work to make sure the children are on time for pick up and drop off. You should 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 easily when they go to the other parents house. For example, if you have spent the school week with your child being grounded for disciplinary problems at school then you should communicate this to your spouse so that he or she can follow through all the discipline that 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 done and over with you and 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. Odds are good that your custody arrangement and Visitation schedules will remain consistent from when your case was active to now 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 him or her.
The family court orders are important to follow, and they are designed to help provide you all with a safety net in the event that you all cannot agree to modifications based on circumstances that arise in your lives. For example, if you need to leave the kids with your ex-spouse one weekend that is designated to be yours because you have an ailing parent or another obligation to attend to then you and your ex-spouse should have the communication skills built up in order to allow for this to happen.
I am not saying that this should become the norm, but 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 a great way for you to learn more about Texas family law as well as the services that we offer to our clients.