The breaking up of a family can have a tremendous effect on a child’s development, especially in their formative years. The United States is one of the countries with the highest divorce rates in the world, and as such, the American legal system faces many challenges with how to split custody over a child, all the while keeping their best interests at heart.
The actual procedure of getting divorced varies depending on which state you’re in. The divorce laws in Florida might differ from those enforced in Massachusetts and so on. If your divorce case is particularly complicated, you might want to seek legal council in order to avoid any surprises in court.
On the other hand, if you and your partner came to the mutual conclusion that you two should split up and you’re able to communicate about it, the proceedings should go quite smoothly.
In both cases, the most important thing to bear in mind at all times is the physical and mental well-being of your child. Divorces can take quite a toll on adults, but they are especially traumatizing to children. This is why it is crucial that you know how to help your child deal with this difficult situation.
Regardless of whether your ex-partner was a piece of crap who cheated on you or the two of you maintain good relations, you need to make sure that your children stay in touch with both parents. Having parents not live together anymore is bad enough, but preventing a kid from seeing one of them makes everything even more painful.
Unless the other party is simply unfit to take care of children or is a threat to their safety, figuring out visiting schedules and the living arrangements as soon as possible should give you enough time to prepare your kid for the post-divorce reality.
Communication is key to resolving disagreements, settling disputes and, in the case of divorce, let people peacefully and harmlessly part ways. Think of how essential proper conversations and mutual respect are during legal divorce proceedings. Now apply the same logic to help your children make sense of all of these sudden changes.
Take your child’s questions and concerns seriously and engage in serious discussions with them about the future, the reasons for your divorce (if appropriate), as well as reassure them that they’re loved and cared for. Being honest with your child will not only help them make peace with your divorce but also builds trust between the two of you.
There is a lot more you need to know about divorce proceedings in order to get it right. This infographic from SurviveDivorce is a good starting point for your research.