On behalf of The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C posted in Divorce on Friday, November 2, 2012
In today’s society, a divorce is often viewed as a fundamentally competitive process. The divvying up of financial assets, property holdings, and child custody can cause many to enter into legal separation proceedings with only accumulation, rather than cooperation, as their primary goal.
However, for divorcing couples who have children together, especially younger children, an atmosphere of pain, regret, and competition between parents can only make coping with the pain of divorce much worse for families’ younger members. Rather than viewing children as financial burdens or the prizes in a courtroom contest, parents should put kids’ needs in the foreground of the new, separate lives they are about to begin.
In an article earlier this week, a divorce coach and psychotherapist outlined specific important points for couples to keep in mind during and after the legal separation process. While many of them appear at first brush to be simple, even obvious, sticking to child-friendly principles during a divorce is never as easy as it may seem. The momentary, albeit painful, chaos of separation can bring about self-centered decision-making, leaving children to adapt to a new family structured without them in mind.
One critical point is that while separation and a life apart from their spouse is the goal of a divorce, parents must keep in mind that children connect them in a powerful, lasting way. Unless one parent chooses to leave behind their responsibility to a child, kids will remain a connection that can offer positive interaction between divorcees.
The divorce coach also stresses that children shouldn’t be used by their separated parents as couriers. Messages and child support checks should never be given to them by one parent to bring to another.
Perhaps most importantly, parents should communicate with their children and start to consider their family as “bi-nuclear,” one made through cooperation that helps children feel “at home” in two different places. Avoid competition and requests for news on what’s happening in the other home.
No single plan or sampling of advice can work perfectly for every unique family. However, by seriously contemplating points such as these, divorced or soon-to-be divorced couples can help begin a new life for their family in which their children are respected, well-adjusted, and happy. Getting in touch with a skilled family law attorney can help start you on such a path.
Source: Huffington Post, “Parenting Tips While Going Through Divorce,” Micki McWade, Oct. 30, 2012
- For spouses in need of divorce counsel, our St. Louis family law page can offer a first step toward a just and smooth separation.