As a loving and devoted parent, you want to do what’s best for your children, even if you can no longer remain married to their other parent. In fact, if you are like most parents, you may have stayed in the marriage longer than you wanted to in the hope of making things work for your children.

Now that you know divorce will be an inevitable part of your future, it is only natural to worry about what impact divorce could have. For many children and young adults, the divorce of their parents can be a  traumatic event . The decisions that you and your spouse make over the next few months will have a profound impact on how negative the divorce proves to be for your children.

Committing now to putting your kids first can make the entire divorce process easier to navigate. Even if you and your spouse can’t agree on much, you can probably agree that you do not want the divorce to do any long-term damage to the children you both love.

 Agree to keep your children out of the conflict

Many parents want to know that their children are on their side in the divorce, but the truth is that you should not force your children to take a side. They need a relationship with both of their parents. Except in the worst cases of addiction or abuse, being able to rely on both parents is of the utmost importance for healthy emotional and social development.

You and your ex need to agree to keep your arguments away from the children. Do not make your kids:

  • Witness you fighting
  • Hear you talking poorly about one another to them or somebody else
  • Carry messages instead of directly communicating with your spouse
  • Take a side in a disagreement

In fact, you should remain positive and supportive of your spouse as a parent in front of the children, no matter how complex your emotions become. Encourage their visitation time before the children go and only speak in positive terms about the other parent. When the kids are in your custody, reflect positively and happily on what your kids did when they were with their other parent. That way, they can see the two of you cooperating to put them above all else.

Even if the kids can have a say, don’t force them to make a choice

While the courts will let older children express their wishes to a Guardian ad Litem about their custody preference, it is better for everyone if you and your spouse can reach an amicable agreement about sharing custody outside of court.   The way in which you and your spouse go through the divorce process can result in your child not making a decision that could stress them out and potentially undermine their confidence in the relationships with you and their other parent.

There are many ways to resolve disputes about custody and placement without court proceedings, and there are many resources available that gives you tips on what to tell the children before and during a divorce.  The attorneys at Burbach & Stansbury S.C. can explain share with you the options and resources with you.