Considering Your Children During Divorce
The desire to protect children from the stress of divorce is extremely reasonable. It is understandable that some couples choose to remain in a troubled marriage and seek counseling or other assistance in making their lives better. However, for some a divorce may be the best – or only – option. If you are planning a divorce, yet worried about the effect of the process on children, there are steps you can take to help the children weather the storm.
Keep Kids Out of It
Keep the children out of the disputes between parents. You may be tempted to vent about your spouse’s behavior or use your child as a sounding board for your notions or opinions about them. You may believe you are building a bond with your children in a difficult situation. You may even feel a moment or two of satisfaction from having a clandestine communique with the child. You may well end up confusing the child regarding their role in the family. You may also make the child feel resentment towards you and sympathy for your spouse instead. Either way, the effect is negative.
Similarly, avoid arguments in front of the children. Try to resolve disputes as calmly as you probably expect them to resolve their disputes. If you do have a blowup, speak with the children afterward and don’t make excuses for your behavior.
Communicate with your Kids
Whether you’re going through a rough patch in the marriage or preparing to start a dissolution of the marriage, you should always keep the lines of communication open with your children. You can discuss in simple, factual terms regarding the divorce. You can explain what is happening between you and your spouse regarding the relationship.
Younger children will have a more self-centered view of the situation. It’s one reason that kids believe themselves to be at fault when their parents get divorced. An older child may be better prepared for the changes. That doesn’t mean they will be ready to shoulder a huge emotional burden. They will continue to need support.
Adult Children Need Support Too
If you have adult children, you will also need to discuss the situation with them. They will have questions and worries just like younger children. You can certainly be more frank with them. However, avoid trying to convince them to take sides in the divorce. They may have already developed their own personal opinion about your marriage. This is not the time to convince them one way or the other. Getting argumentative will only add additional strain.
You may want to consider obtaining an uncontested divorce if your children are of college age or older. Uncontested divorces are generally only available to couples without children or with children age 18 or older. You will have to come to an agreement on the division of assets and debts as well as other issues. An attorney will help you negotiate a settlement and draw up an agreement that a judge may approve.
Alternative Dispute Resolution to Resolve a Divorce in Florida
If you have younger children, you may want to consider a less adversarial method of divorce than battling in court. You have several options in Florida.
Collaborative divorce – You and your spouse can sign an agreement to resolve the dissolution of marriage in a four-way meeting between you and your lawyers. You will agree to be transparent with regard to finances and property and you will discuss what is in the best interest of the children regarding legal and physical custody. You will then present an agreement to a judge for approval.
Mediation – This alternative dispute resolution method involves a third-party who is supposed to help the parties come to an agreement without going to court. The mediator won’t make any decisions regarding the divorce, they aren’t like a judge. They are only present to help foster good communication to help you and your spouse come to a decision.
Arbitration – This method also uses a third-party. However, the arbitrator will have decision making power as long as both parties to the divorce agree to be bound by the arbitrator’s decision. It is supposed to be less adversarial than a trial; however, today many couples have lawyers advising them during the process.
Compassionate and Capable Divorce Lawyers in Florida
Whatever method you chose to resolve your divorce dispute, the lawyers at Yardley Law will provide you with sound legal advice. They understand the difficult situation you are about to enter and can guide parents towards a promising post-divorce future.