Some thoughts on divorce with children
This letter is written from the perspective of an experienced divorce and family lawyer and not an expert opinion of a mental health professional. A mental health professional may agree or disagree with this letter.
If you are considering divorce, have been divorced or are going through a divorce with children, consider the following ideas grounded in experience:
When parents divorce, a child needs love and affection from both parents.
Virtually every parent I have ever represented loves his/her child and every child loves his/her parent. During a divorce, parents often lose sight of the children’s needs in favor of their own. Do not seek comfort from your child for your spouse’s conduct or disparage your spouse in front of a child. Simply, don’t do it. It is akin to child abuse.
A divorce disrupts a child’s life.
A child looks to his/her parents for love, nurture and stability in divorce. It is true that a divorce disrupts the status quo however divorce can be healthier for a child than remaining married. While every child is unique, divorced parents may bring more love, nurture and stability to a child than they would by remaining in an unhealthy marriage. A parent who tries protect a child, pretending to be happily married usually fails and the unhappiness percolates through body language or otherwise. These parents unintentionally teach their child that it is acceptable to be unhappy in his/her own relationships. After all, a child wants to be like his/her hero (mom and dad) and is likely to mirror their decisions and behavior, sometimes subconsciously.
A child does not want to feel different.
A child’s world is complicated enough without having to deal with a divorce. Many children find comfort knowing he/she is not alone in the world and there are many children with divorced parents. Avoid new age custody or parenting arrangements such as rights of first refusal or nesting arrangements where the kids stay in the house and the parents go back and forth. While new age parenting arrangements may appear wonderful, they often don’t work and provide one more reason for your child to feel different.
It is ok for a child to have two birthdays.
Don’t fight over spending time on your child’s birthday.
Take the opportunity to become healthier.
Whether you want the divorce or not, the divorce process is an opportunity to find happiness, financially, physically and emotionally. Healthy parents create healthy children.
Agree or disagree? I encourage you to share your opinions.
About Findling Law:
I have been in practice for almost 20 years and practice exclusively in divorce and family law. My practice includes several attorneys who share the core value of practicing law to help people navigate change in their life, without compromising principles. We have extensive experience in high socio-economic, high profile and high conflict cases which has nurtured a skill set applicable to all divorce and family law cases regardless of socio-economic status. We recognize that it is the application of the law that is most important aspect of practice. That is why we provide more free information on divorce and family law than any other Michigan law firm.
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By: Daniel Findling