Divorce is one of the more painful experiences a family encounters. When children are involved, the situation becomes even more difficult. While each family situation is different, there are certain do’s and don’ts I’ve learned as a divorce lawyer.
Over the years, I’ve found that many couples who are divorcing find it helpful to speak with a therapist or a counselor before they approach their children with the news. Upon hearing the news that their parents are going to divorce, many kids blame themselves for the split. Both parents must reassure them that it is not their fault. This will have to be reinforced from time to time and should be done by both spouses.
Secondly and perhaps most importantly, the divorcing couple should never argue in front of the kids. When speaking individually to their kids they should try to avoid blaming the other spouse for the divorce. There is nothing worse for a child than to be placed in the middle of a contentious or nasty divorce. Once the divorce process begins, it’s very important for the lives of the children to be as stable and normal as is possible given the new circumstances. This may prove to be difficult but the welfare of children should be a first priority for both parents.
Divorces often cause emotions to run high. Communication may become strained and in some situations nearly impossible. However, communication between the parties will have to take place, even after the divorce is finalized if children are involved. This is another area where a good therapist or counselor may be able to help.
As a divorce lawyer, I’ve witnessed all types of situations. The one thing I know is that children don’t deserve to suffer as a result of a marital breakup. No one wins in these situations. Good, honest, and consistent communication with children will help them cope with their new family situation.