It’s no secret that divorce is hard. It’s hard on everyone involved. There’s broken trust, anger, disappointment, and a myriad of other emotions associated with divorce. Sadly, when child custody is involved, the adults often forget that they are hurting too.
Even if the divorce is an amicable one, the children sometimes feel that the divorce was somehow their fault or that the parent that left no longer loves them. They don’t understand the adult issues that have caused their parents to no longer live in the same home. Their world has been turned upside down.
Different children react differently to divorce. Their personalities dictate whether they go with the flow or struggle through the process. Don’t underestimate the resilience of the children but pay attention to how they are feeling and behaving during and after the divorce—as parents, knowing the signs to look for can help you help your children navigate what can be a terrifying time for them.
Even before you receive your final divorce order, you can take the initiative to help your children understand what is about to happen.
As hard as divorce is on the adults, the children often don’t understand what is happening and can blame themselves for their parents divorcing. This guilt adds extra stress to the children that they don’t understand. To help the children through the process, here are some tips for talking to them before your final divorce order has been signed.
Often fear dictates how the children behave when their parents have decided to divorce. They need you to reassure them that even if you can no longer live with their other parent, you will always love them. Talking honestly with them on their level will help them to feel safe.
Sometimes, children may reject whichever parent they feel is at fault for the divorce. It could happen for no known reason, or the other parent could be prompting the behavior. This is a rare occurrence, but it’s painful for both the rejected parent and the children. It’s best to try to avoid this situation if at all possible.
In every situation where children are involved, custody issues become a primary concern. Your final divorce order in Washington state will include detailed instructions for child custody. Technically, the courts in Washington don’t refer to the arrangements made for children as child custody. Instead, the term parenting plan is used.
When you are divorcing in Washington, you have the opportunity to negotiate a parenting plan with your soon-to-be ex-spouse before going to court. An experienced divorce attorney can help you with the negotiation process. The most crucial focus of your plan should be what is in the best interests of your children.
When a judge is deciding your case, the best interests of your children will be the standard used to determine the terms of your parenting plan. If they determine your plan has been written to punish the other parent rather than promote your child’s best interests, your plan will likely be thrown out, and you will have to begin again. Or the judge could decide to throw out your plan and favor your ex when they make their recommendations for your parenting plan and child support in your final divorce order.
Even with the best parenting plan, the children are still experiencing multiple changes. Keeping a watchful eye on your children will help you determine how they are adjusting and if you should seek help beyond that which you can give. Here are some of the potential issues children face during the process and following the final divorce order in Washington.
Children who experienced their parents’ divorce can become adults who have difficulty with relationships. You can do some things to help your children adjust during and after the divorce process. These strategies can help them deal with your divorce and develop more healthy relationships later.
Sometimes, you may need to seek professional advice for your children. The children may need a neutral party to talk to about your divorce. Don’t be afraid to seek the help of a professional for your children. They often need help expressing all of their emotions regarding their new reality.
As a parent, you can help your children navigate the emotional tide when you are getting a divorce. Even before your final divorce order in Washington, you need to be aware of how your divorce is affecting your children. You may begin to see behaviors that you find unacceptable, or they may retreat into themselves, refusing to interact with anyone.
It’s essential to keep your child’s well-being at the forefront of any decisions regarding your dealings with your ex-spouse. Consult with one of the experienced divorce attorneys at the Aberdeen Law Firm to learn how to navigate your divorce while helping your children adjust.
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