One of the most difficult parts of getting divorced is the potential to negatively impact the children. As a parent myself, I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to not see my son or daughter on a daily basis. The best thing that you can do as a parent to make this easier on the kids is to try and work with your spouse to insulate the children from the conflict. Here are a couple tips that I share with my clients:
- If the kids spend the majority of the time with you, do everything you can to foster a relationship between them and the other parent
- Never unreasonably deny the other parent a chance to see the kids
- If you are the “non-custodial” parent, don’t forget about your kids and stop seeing them just because you are getting a divorce.
- If the kids ask about the divorce, make sure they understand that this is a grown up issue, and that both you and your spouse love them, no matter what
- Do not fight in front of the kids
- Don’t disparage your spouse in front of the kids
I know that this all sounds well and good, but sometimes our emotions take over and we need some tools to keep them in check. Seeking counseling or therapy either on your own, jointly with your spouse, or with your kids can be a helpful process.
A custody evaluation is a tool used by the courts to help them decide who is better suited to be the “primary custodial parent”. They can be used in highly contentious cases at a custody hearing.
If it is looking like your case may be headed this way, you may want to consider getting in to see a therapist sooner rather than later. Some therapists can work with you and your spouse to develop a workable “co-parenting agreement”. The major benefit to this is that you will have more control over the process, rather than allowing a judge (with the aid of a custody evaluator) make the decisions for you.