Loving parents do not mean to hurt their children, nor do they intend to damage them, but unfortunately parents in the trenches of a divorce can be unaware of what they say and do, and how their actions impact their children. Amid the intense emotions, chaos, and major life transitions, parents can be temporarily so absorbed and distracted that they neglect their children’s needs.
In order to reduce the negative ramifications of your divorce on your children, it’s critical to focus on them and have a child-centered divorce. Remember, children are innocent bystanders who can have to deal with the consequences of their parents’ divorce for the rest of their lives.
Your connection will last a lifetime. Realize that while you’re getting a divorce, you’re not going to completely break off from your spouse. You will see him or her at parent-teacher conferences, soccer games, dance recitals, birthday parties, school concerts, and much more for years to come. And it doesn’t end when your child turns eighteen. One day, you might have grandkids, which will mean more extracurricular activities, school and family events to attend together. Since you’re going to know your soon-to-be ex forever, it’s best to start getting along with him or her now.
Shield your kids from adult problems. As you’ve probably heard before – let kids be kids. During your divorce, it’s so important to shield your children from your adult problems. Your children don’t need to hear that your spouse had a racy affair with a co-worker, or that their dad had a gambling addiction, or that their mom charged up all the credit cards. While such things may be true, they would only upset your children and lessen their opinions of the other parent and no good comes out of that.
Don’t discuss your divorce on social media. If your children are over the age of 12, they’re probably on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and other social media platforms. Chances are, they’re friends with you on Facebook and Instagram (after all, you want to keep an eye on their online activities). For the sake of your divorce and your kids, avoid ranting about your divorce on Facebook or Twitter. Your 500 acquaintances don’t need to be privy to your divorce, nor do your children. If you were to broadcast your negative emotions or complain about your spouse on social media, it’s going to hurt your kids.
Protect your spouse’s image. We realize that your spouse may have a substance abuse problem. They may have spent thousands on their boyfriend or girlfriend, and they may have blown your entire savings on risky investments or a startup that flopped. Regardless of what your spouse has done to ruin the marriage, for the sake of your kids it’s important to protect your spouse’s reputation. Word gets around fast and you don’t want your kids to hear rumors that their mom ran to Cabo with her masseuse, or that their dad quit his fancy job only to lose all the family’s money in a shady business dealing.
Avoid parental alienation. No matter how you feel about your spouse, you must avoid turning your kids against him or her. In the absence of domestic violence, you are still both their parents and your children have the right to have both parents in their lives, playing an active role. There’s nothing sadder than a loving father who’s pushed out of his children’s lives, never to walk his daughter down the aisle, or a loving mother alienated by her husband, never to meet her grandchildren. It’s not fair to their other parent and it’s especially not fair to your children to deprive them of two loving parents who care for their well-being.
Seek to have a good relationship with your spouse. Want to know the secret to having a positive divorce? Create a good relationship with your spouse. By doing this, your divorce will be less stressful. Your children will sense that things are more peaceful and the outcome will be much brighter than if you were to despise your spouse. Even if you wish you’d never see your spouse ever again, it’s important to put a smile on your face and treat him or her with dignity and respect. This won’t only make things easier, it will benefit your children in spades.
Give your children loads of love and attention. During and after the divorce, focus on your kids – give them loads of attention. Reassure them that you love them and do lots of fun things together, such as hiking, going to the beach, watching movies at home, taking walks together, playing their favorite sport, and doing things that they enjoy. Depending on their age, this could mean playing basketball, knitting (for girls), visiting museums, volunteering, going to the park (small children), visiting the dog park with your furry friend, or playing a game of catch.
Be flexible with the other parent. Can you imagine if you had to work late because you had to entertain a client or because you took an extra shift and your former spouse refused to watch the kids, even though they didn’t have any plans? Their refusal to budge would definitely cause resentment on your part and rightfully so! For this reason, it’s important that you’re both flexible with each other, especially when it relates to work, emergencies and sudden schedule changes. The idea is to be reasonable with each other and of course not to abuse the other parent’s flexibility.
Consider staying in the same school zone. If you can arrange to live a few miles away from your former spouse, this will make your life much easier. We recommend staying in the school zone if possible, or at the least living very close.
If you’re looking for a Los Angeles divorce attorney, contact our firm to schedule a free case evaluation with a compassionate member of our legal team.