Divorce is stressful for all parties involved, including children, especially when the divorce is filled with resentment and anger. Children need to maintain meaningful relationships with both parents, so shielding them from conflict between parents is essential for their well-being. Divorcing parents are often advised what not to do, rather than given actionable steps to help their children through the divorce process. These steps will help minimize your children's stress and worry during your divorce.
Although your divorce attorney will negotiate a custody agreement with your spouse's attorney, you will still have to communicate with your spouse during the divorce proceedings about day-to-day parenting arrangements. Rather than use your children to pass messages, civilly communicate with your spouse. Stay on topic with your children as the main focus to avoid bringing up contentious issues. If you are unable to civilly speak to your spouse, use email or text messages.
Think of co-parenting as a business arrangement. Business relationships do not have emotional baggage, the participants are polite, and agreements are put in writing to keep everyone on the same page. You do not have to like the other participant at a business meeting, but you can still effectively communicate with them to reach the objective.
Support Your Spouse's Relationship with Your Children
Even though it may be difficult, act respectfully towards your spouse in your children's presence. Follow your co-parenting schedule, but be flexible to accommodate your spouse when needed. Avoid arguing in front of your children since this may make them feel like they need to side with one parent or the other when maintaining a relationship with both parents is important. Speak positively about your spouse in front of your children, and insist that your friends and family do the same. How you act towards your spouse in your children's presence is more important than how you feel about them.
As much as possible, maintain stability for your children through the divorce process. Let them keep the same friends and schools. If you must make changes, give your children plenty of notice. Spend one-on-one time every day with each of your children while they adjust to new living situations and routines. Give your children clear rules and limits, and stay consistent with your discipline. Keep any promises you make to them.
Protect Your Parenting Rights With an Experienced North Carolina Family Law Attorney
Although you and your spouse may be able to temporarily effectively co-parent, an experienced North Carolina divorce attorney can prepare custody agreements and visitation schedules that work in the best interest and welfare of the children involved. Your obligations to co-parent your children with your ex-spouse does not end when your divorce is finalized, so having strong custody agreements and visitation schedules in place prevents conflicts later.
Jerkins Family Law in Raleigh, North Carolina, is committed to protecting your relationships with your children with the best legal representation. If you are ready to file for divorce or have questions about custody, visit our dedicated Child Custody page and contact our office today.