The biggest concern for most parents in a divorce, or when considering a divorce, is how it will affect their children. The impact of divorce on children depends in large part on how their parents (the parties to the litigation) react to the divorce.
One of the most important things to remember when going through a divorce, is not to drag your children into the litigation. Divorce is adult business. Children should not have to deal with adult stressors.
Here are some ways you can avoid involving your children in divorce litigation:
- Decide with your spouse how to tell the children about the divorce. You may not be married anymore (once the divorce is final), but you are always parents. You need to be able to talk to each other and make decisions that are best for your children.
- Do not tell the children more than they need to know. Does your child need to know about the divorce until it is final? Is a parent moving out of the home or not moving back into the home? Are their things you don’t want to talk about but that your child probably already has formed opinions about? Answers to these questions, and more, will tell you how much your children need to know.
- Determine a parenting schedule that is best for the children. Take your own wants and needs out of the equation when planning visitation. Which parent will give the children the most confidence on school mornings? Where will the children relax and rest their heads on the weekends? While some change is necessary, when fighting over one day of the week, these views will help you step back and look at needs versus positions.
- Encourage family and friends not to talk to your children about the divorce. Your best buddy should not be bad mouthing your soon-to-be-ex in front of your kids. Your sister should not be making comments under her breath about the mother or father of your children. Your kids will pick up on these comments and resent the situation, i.e., you.
- Don’t be afraid to seek out specialists. Big brother programs, Rainbows for Kids, religious workshops, tutors, and therapists can help your children through stress and fear that is created by the divorce.
While the within list is not all inclusive, it should help you sort out coping mechanisms that best suit the needs and interests of your children. You are also encouraged to do your own research on how to best protect your children from your divorce. Especially don’t forget to listen to the voices of your children. You know your kids best, and they know you inside out, too. Sometimes the simplest way to help your children through a divorce or other family related litigation is to ask them, “What can I do to help you?” Don’t forget to listen to their response.
If you are going through a divorce or are considering one, contact our Illinois divorce attorneys located in Lincolnwood, Lisle, and downtown Chicago. Call Weiss-Kunz & Oliver, LLC at 312-605-4041 to schedule an initial consultation.