When a couple decides to get divorced, several factors can be involved, from major disagreements to issues that remain unsolvable. Statistics from the National Survey of Family Growth showed that almost 50% of marriages in the USA end up in divorce. At such an increased rate, it is significant to know how a divorce works with a child in the picture. This is because complications resulting from a divorce increase when children are involved.
Hence, we have compiled everything that you need to know before taking any step if you have finalized the decision to get divorced. We understand that both you and your partner have valid reasons to take such an action, but it is also important to cater to your child’s needs in the right manner. A divorce attorney can help determine the best course of action for you and your children.
Things to Consider Before You Get Divorced
While each partner may have their own reasons for ending their marriage, there are several things that you should discuss with your partner before proceeding with the legal procedure. When getting a divorce with kids involved, you need to understand that while you and your partner do not want to continue with your marriage anymore, you still need to bear each other's presence and communicate for the sake of your children.
The very first thing that you should analyze is the attachment your child has with both the parents. If one of you has been emotionally unavailable due to any reason, your child will automatically feel closer to the other parent. Whatever decision you make concerning your child's custody, remember to take this point into consideration.
While the court's legal procedures will ensure that the child does not face any financial issues due to the divorce, it is always better to discuss it beforehand. If you and your partner are not separating on something major and are still on talking terms, sit down and think about how both of you will manage your child’s finances after the divorce.
It would help if you considered factors like these to determine the right time for breaking the news to your child. While you surely need to communicate and let your child know about the situation, you need to do it at the most appropriate time. If the child has recently faced something serious and has been deeply affected by it, give them some time to settle and then talk about it. This way, they will have a better chance of understanding the situation.
Conflicts at Home
If you are confused about getting divorced, consider this option. You need to understand that divorce does not always have a bad effect on children. It is quite possible for your child to feel mentally and physically disturbed because of the everyday conflicts at home. The intensity of your fights with your partner also plays an essential role. It is quite possible that if you and your partner work out the divorce with mutual agreement, both of you will give your child undivided attention, which will be better for their overall growth. Hence, make a wise decision.
Age of the Child
While it is a myth that getting divorced when young children are involved will have a lesser impact on their mental health, you still need to consider their age before getting divorced. Once you have analyzed their mental state depending on their age, you will know how to tell them about this shift, which is to take place in their life. We will discuss how you should tell them in a while, but before that, let us look at the procedure's legalities.
How to go About it
As stated earlier, getting a divorce with kids can get complicated. Several aspects play a part in the overall outcome, and unlike a divorce without kids, you will still have to remain in contact with your ex for your child's sake.
Hence, it is always better to hire a professional attorney who has experience dealing with such cases. If the divorce is taking place with mutual understanding and you do not hold any grudges against each other, you can hire a single attorney. However, most cases require partners to have their lawyers who then communicate to take the process further.
The primary factor that your lawyer will take care of is your financial responsibility for your child, according to the state's law. Depending on your salary, an amount will be agreed upon for the child's maintenance cost so that he/she does not get affected financially in any given manner. Child support is something that must be discussed along with custody. However, it all depends on how complex the situation is and who has the custody of your child as well.
The legal procedure of the divorce will ensure that the child's custody is given while keeping the child's interest a priority. Hence, it is advised to consult with your lawyer beforehand and see how the custody will be divided or if sole custody is applicable. This way, you wouldn't have to deal with any surprises when you present yourself in front of the judge. Maintaining a normal daily routine for the child during and after the divorce will help them in many ways. A family law attorney can help determine best course of action, whether that be joint custody or sole custody of children.
Once the custody is decided, legal procedures will include the visitation rules for the non-custodial parent (if it is not a shared custody case.) We suggest that even if you have the upper hand in the situation, make sure to arrive at a conclusion that will benefit your child in the long run. After all, your child's well-being is more important than making your partner suffer.
How to Tell Your Kids
Now that you have a basic idea of what needs to be considered and what the legal procedures will include, discuss with your partner how to break the news to your child. For this, there are certain factors you need to consider so that things go as smoothly as possible. Divorce will always be a difficult phase, no matter the age of your child. Hence, make sure you try to do it in a less painful way.
The most crucial thing to know is how you should communicate your decision to your child, depending on their age. If they are still very young, you do not necessarily have to tell them the divorce's unpleasant details.
However, even if your children have reached an age where they understand and analyze things happening around them, do not hide the truth from them. It doesn't translate into telling them the harsh realities associated with the divorce, but does not give them false hope. They have a right to know that their parents will no longer be living together.
No matter how many differences you have, if the tension between you two is not extreme, try to break the news together. This way, your child will be reassured that you both are willing to make an effort together for them.
Address their Queries
Divorce can be confusing, and while we understand that it is hard for you, it is harder and more complicated for children. Give them an ample amount of time to understand what exactly is happening and try to validate their feelings about the issue. Let them ask questions and try to answer them as honestly as possible. After all, there will be a change in their routines, and they have every right to know about it.
Negative Image of One Parent
Even if one partner is at fault, try your best not to communicate this to your children. You may want your child to be closer to you, but they need both the parents to love them. By presenting a negative image of your partner, you are forcing them to pick sides. You should work together for the children because a divided house only hurts the children in the long run.
Additionally, even if your child is old enough to know the situation, tell them that whatever happened between you and your partner has nothing to do with them and that you both love them equally.
It's Not Them
Lastly, make sure that the child does not end up blaming themself for the divorce. It is very common for children to think like that, so you will have to reassure your child throughout the process.
Try to come up with a schedule and work it out so that the child gets both the parents' love and not end up taking the blame on them. Also, let them know now and then that you love them and that the divorce will never affect them.If you have any further questions regarding this issue or any other query, please book a consultation session with our family lawyers, and we will be happy to help you out!