One of the things that many couples dread the most when they've decided to divorce is breaking the news to their kids. Whether the kids have sensed that this move is coming, or it's a complete shock to them, that conversation with their parents will probably end up being one of the most memorable events of their childhood -- perhaps of their entire life. That's a lot of pressure on parents, so you need to strategize how you're going to approach this conversation.
Many divorced couples determine that they can co-parent most effectively when they avoid in-person and phone conversations with one another. It can become easy to slip into old, destructive patterns of communication. Sometimes, a person's tone of voice can be enough to set their ex off. Texts can also too easily be sent in the heat of anger or leave room for misunderstanding.
Once your divorce is final, you, your co-parent and your children will still be a family. Your family will, however, have a different structure than in the past. How smoothly you and your former spouse are able to accomplish this restructuring will likely have a significant impact on how well your kids adjust to their "new normal."
If you're a divorced parent who lives a long distance from your co-parent, you may be considering the option of letting your child fly alone to spend part of the summer with them. If that goes well, you may let them do this for spring breaks and part of their winter vacation as well.
If you're a divorced parent, you've likely begun planning for your children's summer vacation. Typically, the earlier parents can finalize plans regarding child care, summer camps, trips and holiday activities, the less confusion and conflict they'll experience when summer arrives. If you and your co-parent included summer vacations in your original child custody agreement, you're a step ahead of parents who didn't.
One of the biggest challenges for many divorced co-parents who are sharing custody of their children is maintaining a positive attitude about your kids' time with their other parent. However, that's crucial to helping them adjust to spending time with the parents separately and across two homes. No matter how you feel about your co-parent, it's essential to your children's well-being to encourage a good relationship with them.
While divorcing when you have young children can be challenging, so can ending a marriage when you have teenagers. While teens are better able to understand a parental break-up than younger kids, that doesn't make things easier for them.
Most parents teach their kids at a young age that simple courtesies, like saying "please" and "thank you," are important. However, couples often forget to use these words when talking to each other. If a marriage is deteriorating, such niceties may become nonexistent.
If you're divorcing a co-parent with an alcohol or drug abuse issue -- or if your co-parent has developed an issue since your original custody agreement was worked out -- you're likely concerned for the safety and well-being of your kids. You may be seeking sole physical custody and perhaps supervised visitation for the other parent.
Perhaps the most damaging allegation that a person going through a divorce can make about their spouse is that they have abused their children. Unfortunately, false allegations of abuse occur in some contentious divorces and child custody battles.