Divorce and Children
June 12, 2018
Divorce is hard. No one questions that. But, if you have children, that adds an extra level to the divorce. Even if you both agree and want to be civil and polite and make things as easy as possible, it’s hard. Divorce is the end of something. You’re absolutely allowed to be mad or sad. The most important thing is that your children come out of the divorce unscathed. It’s possible. It’s even probable. And it’s your job as their parents to make the divorce easy for the children, not for yourselves.
There is a whole world out there of alienated or erased parents in divorce and family law legal matters. Parents who have no contact with their children. A person may be a crappy husband or a cheating wife, but that does not mean they are a bad parent. Being a bad parent and not being a good parent are not actually the same thing. Think about it. If they feed the children ice cream for dinner, they are not a bad parent. If they yell at baseball games, they are not a bad parent. If they forget how old the child is, they are not a bad parent. If they don’t discipline, they are not a bad parent. If they discipline too much, they are not a bad parent. It doesn’t mean they’re a good parent, but they’re not bad. And your children don’t deserve to think they’re bad.
Your divorce is about the adults in the family, not the children. Remember that. Divorce is about the adults, not the children. Don’t involve the children in your divorce. Don’t talk about your divorce to your children. Don’t talk about your feelings related to your spouse to your children, or in front of your children, or in the same house as your children. Your hurt feelings are valid; they are even possibly relevant in certain legal situations, but they’re your feelings. Unless your soon to be ex-spouse is harmful to the children (and there are legitimate reasons they may be harmful), you cannot stop your children from seeing or being involved with their other parent in a divorce. Co-parenting in a divorce is hard. Again, no one questions that. But, co-parenting is the only way for two adults to lessen negative impact on children.
We’ve talked before about how helpful and often necessary it is to have an attorney assist you in your divorce. When choosing the right legal assistance, choose attorneys who will help you navigate the legal system, advise you on the best ways to go through the divorce process, draft your divorce documents with the appropriate language, and maybe most importantly, will not encourage or incite your divorce to turn into war. War in divorce does nothing but feed the pockets of the lawyers, drag out everything, keep tensions and bad feelings at the highest levels, and cause irreparable damage to those involved (and I mean the family, not the attorney). You are the adult, so you can make your own choices. But your children are going to be torn and pulled and don’t need to know anything but that at mommy’s house, they get to ice cream for dinner. Think about it. Please.