It is no surprise that divorce is common in modern American society. You would be hard pressed to find a child who is not either the child of divorce or the close friend of one. In today’s landscape, divorced parents, two homes and split holidays are relatively normal and do not carry nearly the stigma they did only a few short decades ago.
For parents with younger kids who get divorced, it may be necessary to hire a family attorney to help with custody decisions. This can be one of the most difficult parts of the divorce process because parents are generally a bit unsure about how the divorce will affect their children in both the short and long term.
According to the child custody lawyers who do this work every day, there are a few ways to make sure that dealing with joint custody is easier on both the kids and the parents.
- As much as possible, parents should try to be civil with one another when in contact. This might be when a child is switching from one house to another or even on holidays, school events, etc. A child who sees their parents able to interact in a peaceful way will be happier in the long run. In some situations, this may not always be feasible, and if that’s the case, parents should try to minimize any interaction they have with one another so the child does not have to see them fight.
- Parents should let the children be involved in setting up their new lives. For children who have a home with each parent, it can be tough because neither one might seem 100% like home. To combat this, parents should make sure the children are involved in decorating their room in each house the way they want so they feel comfortable and special in both.
- For children that are old enough, parents should bring them into the planning. That means letting them weigh in on where they want to spend which holidays and who they want to stay with on breaks from school. The more autonomy children have in the process, the less forceful and unemotional it will seem. With strict custody rules, it is smart to work with professionals at places like Pollart Miller Family Law, who can help families navigate these decisions and come up with solutions that are beneficial to everyone in the family.
- Parents should do their best to check in with their children often and remind them that the divorce was in no way their fault. It is also helpful for parents to remind their children that no matter what, their love for them has not and will never change.
Divorce that involves alterations to child custody is often a very difficult situation because it affects not only the parents, but the kids too. Prioritizing open, honest and frequent communication as a family will help to make sure that this difficult situation is managed in a way that eliminates some of the stress on all parties involved.