Research has shown that children are less likely to be negatively impacted long-term simply because they have divorced parents as opposed to children who are exposed to married parents who are in constant conflict. Put simply, your child has a better chance at having healthy mental health despite his or her parents’ divorce than if you decided to stay together in an unhealthy marriage “for the sake of your child.”
Raul Sandoval of Sandoval Family Law is a board certified family law attorney certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization who has exclusively practiced family law for almost a decade. He has handled hundreds of divorce cases dealing with child custody issues, with quite a bit of those cases being “high conflict” cases. A question he receives the most from potential clients going through divorce with a child or children is, “will I get to see my children?” The short and general answer to this is, “yes, of course.” However, divorce can certainly have a negative impact on children, and it is up to the parents going through divorce to help ensure that their child or children come out of divorce without major scarring. How can parents help do this for their child or children?
Here are 3 Tips from Raul Sandoval from Sandoval Family Law
(1) You must get along and remain civil with each other. This is the only realistic way that you will be able to effectively co-parent for the best interest of your child or children. Continuing as husband and wife may not have been best for you, but you have to set these negative sentiments aside to co-parent your children. There is life after divorce, and your children will be better off when they see their parents attend their birthday parties, graduations, weddings, etc., and can smile with each other at these events. With parents who show they can and do co-parent with the other parent, Courts are more likely to grant you significant access to your children. Does that mean you will spend time with your children every day? No, unfortunately, the circumstances of being divorced no longer makes this practical. However, you can really help maximize your access to your children by exhibiting your parenting and co-parenting ability (i.e., via texts; emails; sharing significant information regarding the children’s education or health), even if the other parent may not necessarily be doing the same.
(2) Keep the children out of the litigation and adult conversations. Your children do not need to know how much child support a parent is receiving or whether the parents went to Court and the Judge said “XYZ” to mommy or daddy. I get it, children are inquisitive and will ask about what’s going on or why they “can’t see mommy or daddy right this second,” but one of the best approaches is to deflect. You have resources who can help with answering these types of questions such as a child’s counselor and/or your attorney.
(3) Do not talk badly about mommy or daddy to your children. Your children do not need to know that, “mommy or daddy said they don’t want to pay for your soccer lessons because he or she already pays child support.” Parents can control how to approach these types of questions that may come up, and just because it may feel good to you to take a jab at your ex-spouse, your child or children are the ones who suffer from those types of statements or discussions. Again, you have resources who can help with answering these types of questions such as a child’s counselor and/or your attorney.
This certainly is not an exclusive list of ways to divorce without alienating your children, but I have found that these tips have helped many of those high conflict cases I referenced earlier. Try to keep the residual negative impact on the children as minimal as possible because it’s simply not their fault that their parents’ marriage did not work out. Your children will ultimately benefit from an otherwise negative situation.