For good reason, most people have concerns about their children during their divorce proceedings. No parent wants their child to be affected by divorce, so here are some tips from a divorce attorney’s perspective to help minimize the effect on your children.
- Remember that your spouse is your children’s mother or father. This will help put things in perspective – even though you no longer have a relationship with your spouse, your child has a right to that relationship. One of the things we always remind clients is "but for that person who right now you detest, that beautiful child who you would not trade for anything in the world, would not exist".
- Never speak badly of your spouse. Children are adept at recognizing the undertones of your comments, and any negative inference regarding their mother or father by you could alienate you and your child.
- Never let money affect your relationship with your children. Your relationship with your child is independent from the finances, whether you are paying or receiving child support.
- Do not send your spouse notes/information through your child or your child’s backpack. This is a small part of putting your child in the middle, and it will only get worse. In this age of technology, e-mails are an easy, appropriate and private way to communicate directly with your spouse, so that the children do not have to be involved. (Although remember to be careful what you write in your e-mail – see Charles J. Meyer’s blog dated April 20, 2007).
- Be reasonable. I am a firm believer that even if your spouse is not reasonable that, in the long run, you will be better off if you are reasonable. Your children will recognize it, and if it comes down to it, the court will recognize it.
There are lots of resources for parents these days to help with their children during and after divorce – books, psychologists, co-parenting counselors, etc. If you need to do so, utilize the resources available to you. And of course, you can always ask your attorney’s opinion.