Getting a divorce almost always means going from one household to two. If you have children and will be sharing parenting time with your ex-spouse, this transition can be especially difficult for the kids because it can easily feel like a loss of stability and control.
The reassuring news is that there are ways to help your children through this difficult time. In a recent New York Times article, the author shared ideas for creating a sense of home in both households, regardless of what the specific parenting time arrangement will be.
Can Your Kids Be Part Of The House-Hunting Process?
If you are moving out of the marital residence, you may have limited housing options following divorce. Many people need to rent, at least initially. If you can, it is a good idea to let your kids feel like they have a say in where you live. Narrow the choices down to at least two places you know you can afford, then let them give input. When you do move in, allowing them to choose paint colors and other details can go a long way toward making them feel included.
Give Your Child A Space To Make Their Own
Kids who go between two homes can sometimes end up feeling like a guest in one or both of those residences. Your child should have their own space and the opportunity to make it their own. That means allowing them to choose things like color scheme, decorations, and other elements.
Having their own room is a good start, but they should also feel at home in the other spaces in the house. If you keep toiletries for them in the bathroom and extra sets of clothes or pajamas, they will have fewer items to bring back and forth between houses.
Give Your Kids Emotional Space To Process
In addition to giving your children control over their physical space, it is also important to let them have emotional space. Give them time and opportunity to process the transition verbally and emotionally. That might mean providing regular reassurance that the divorce isn’t their fault and that neither of their parents is going away. It could mean letting them voice their anger and frustrations while you just listen. It could also mean giving them reasons – even seemingly small ones – to feel excited about the future.
How will you address the marital residence in divorce?
One of biggest decisions to be made in divorce is what happens to the marital residence. Does one spouse stay with the children, or do you sell the home, split the proceeds and allow everyone to get a fresh start? There are many financial considerations to this decision as well as emotional ones. As such, it is important to discuss your options with an experienced family law attorney.
For more information on how we can help you fairly and intelligently divide your assets, you can visit the property division page on our website.