When you have children, the decision to divorce gets much more complicated. Not only does this decision impact you and your spouse, but also the lives of your kids. In fact, many couples wrestle with this issue for months if not years, unsure how to do the right thing for themselves while protecting their kids. The way you proceed with your divorce very much matters when it comes to protecting your children. Here are some tips for preparing your kids for divorce and protecting them from the stress and conflict it can bring:
1. Communicate clearly and be consistent: Communication really is important when it comes to explaining divorce to your kids. As you plan how this will go, think about their ages and any specific issues that they are sensitive about. Avoid speaking in negative terms about your partner and make sure to provide reassurance about the strength of your relationships with them.
2. Consider the process you will follow to navigate your divorce: You do not have to proceed through the court system in order to finalize your divorce. Instead, you may want to consider divorce mediation to settle the terms of your divorce. Mediation is less expensive, takes less time and can even reduce the conflict between you and your ex. Mediation can also be an extremely helpful tool after your divorce is final when you need to make changes to a parenting agreement.
3. Gather the support that your family needs: Think now about the support that will help your family through this difficult period of time. This may be family members, neighbors, teachers, a religious leader, a pediatrician, a therapist or someone else that can provide strong support for you, your ex and/or your kids.
4. Allow your kids to make some of the decisions: Of course, your kids cannot decide whether or not you should divorce, but they can make some other decisions, depending on their age. You can let them have input into how they divide their time between you and your ex and you can let them decide smaller things to help them feel part of the process.
Reducing Conflict During Divorce For Your Kids
AMS Mediation can help guide you through the divorce process. We offer in person and virtual mediation services, parenting support services as well as early neutral evaluations and custody evaluations. For more information about how to navigate a divorce while protecting your kids, call us at 952-252-1492.