Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Divorce Lawyer's Practical Tips on Minimizing the Effects of Divorce on Kids!

It is undisputed that divorce has long-term effects on children, such as depression, trust issues, social difficulties and anxiety.  When divorce is necessary, it is important to pay very close attention to how the divorce is affecting the children.

Unfortunately, many people do unintentionally place their children "in the middle".   This can easily happen.   Some comments and questions that are seem harmless to an adult can make a child feel stressed and disloyal.  

Practical Tips for Minimizing the Negative Effect of Divorce on Kids 

By Attorney Siomara Ramirez Pitre 
  1. Watch what you say in front of the kids (even to your best friend, relative or lawyer).  This includes what you say on the telephone when the kids can hear you.  Be ready to tell others, "Not in front of the kids, we'll talk later."
  2. Watch the non-verbal communication.   Facial expressions and body language can radiate anger and disapproval of the other parent. 
  3. Don't ask unnecessary questions about the other parent.   ("Did you have fun at the zoo?" is fine.  "So, what other new things did your dad buy for his apartment?" is not). 
  4. Decide how to approach delicate or emotionally-charged issues with the kids.  If your ex has a substance abuse problem, makes unsafe decisions or hangs out with the wrong crowd, you may have to approach the issue with the kids to be sure they are safe. Don't use it as a personal vendetta. You can get help in dealing with these issues from your family law attorney, therapist, or school counselor. 
  5. Avoid building yourself up to make the other parent look bad, even if you think you are being subtle (you aren't).    For instance, "I don't know about your mother, but I always manage to get off work for your soccer games no matter how busy I am."
  6. Your kids are not your friends or counselors.  Get emotional support if you need it, but don't ever, ever, ask your kids to provide it for you.   No matter how "mature" they are.   Treating a child (even a teenager) as a "best friend", "co-parent" , or "man of the house" is detrimental to the child and is selfish.  And it can be used against you in court. 
  7. Be as honest as you can when you discuss things but be ready to tell them that you can't discuss certain things with them.  
  8. Go slowly with new relationships, be careful with who the kids meet, even when the divorce is final   Kids don't need to meet various people that you date.  If there is a special relationship, then wait to introduce the kids until they have time to adjust to the finality of the divorce.
  9. Discuss the changes that are occurring and use supportive language.  For instance. "I know a lot of things are changing right now. We'll adjust to it together. Let's talk about it." is good.   But "Everything is changing because of our divorce. You have a lot to get used to".  is scary even if it is said in an understanding voice.
  10. Don't ask kids to make major decisions themselves about living situations, schools, and visitation schedules.    Listening to them, and taking their best interests into consideration is good, but don't let them feel that they bear the responsibility for what happens in the divorce. 
It may not be easy to put these tips into practice, but it will be worth it.  In years to come you will be glad that you took the time and energy to put the kids first, even when it was very difficult to do so. 

Kalish Law Office - Divorce and Family Law Attorneys - Since 1984

26 comments:

  1. Divoce is a stressful situation for adults and even more difficult for the kids who are in the middle. These tips will be very useful for those couples who are in this situation.

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  3. A divorce is a process, not a single event. At a minimum, a divorce cannot be finalized for 60 days after the date the case is filed in court, and as a practical matter, most cases are not finalized on the 61st day.
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  4. Thanks for sharing. A divorce mediator is an excellent alternative to the costly, adversarial method of litigated divorce proceedings.
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  5. Nice post! A divorce is a process, not a single event. At a minimum, a divorce cannot be finalized for 60 days after the date the case is filed in court.

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  6. The attorney needs to learn details about your marriage — your children, income, and assets. Based on that information and your objectives, the attorney should be able to discuss what you can realistically expect in your divorce and how best to achieve your goals.
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  7. Great tips. Questions like these aren't addressed enough. You figure it out once you're involved in divorce law, but in Duluth, it seems like people need to know well in advance.

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  9. Thanks for the post, and I hope that I don't ever have to go through getting a divorce or getting advice from a divorce lawyer. Because after seeing my parents go through that, I don't wish that on anyone.

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  10. Nice post! Divorce lawyers specialize in the legal process of divorce and family law issues. Their job is to guide their clients through the rigorous experience of divorce. The divorce attorney should be able to establish the best interest for the children. Thanks.

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  11. This was super helpful! I'm trying to do anything I can for my friends family issues. What do you recommend in the qualities of a lawyer to hire for their case?
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  12. I would recommend that a client choose an attorney that s/he is comfortable with, and also evaluate the attorney's experience and knowledge in that particular area of law. That is why the initial consultation is so important; it allows the attorney and client to become familiar with each other, exchange information, ask questions and decide if working together would be a good fit.

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  13. Bar associations often offer free legal help through pro bono programs. Lawyers willing to work for free, or "pro bono," are matched with people who qualify for free legal advice. There are also nonprofits dedicated to provided pro bono legal help to those in need.
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  14. As part of their "divorce team", parties can choose to add mental health professionals who can act as a divorce coach or a child specialist as a member of the team.
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  15. I love the tip about not making your children your councilors. When my parents were going through their divorce, they put me in the middle of every argument, I didn't want to have to choose a side and it just made it a huge issue among my parents and I. To this day I still cannot be in the middle of an argument without shutting down completely.

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  16. Friends are normally the best way through which to get a marriage annulment lawyer. Because this is a very sensitive matter for most people, you cannot just walk into any law firms and seek their expertise. You need someone you can trust and a professional you are confident would understand your situation. Therefore, before you head out, talk to your friends and even relatives.
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  17. A personal recommendation is certainly one good way to get a referral. Also going online to read about the firm you are interested in visiting to get a "feel" for the firm. Such as reading the firm's blog! And website!

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  18. I was looking for something like this..Thanks a lot for the information..

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  19. You can always do research before hiring a divorce lawyer. It could be risky if you just get the one you think is handy. They might have a hard time helping you with your case.
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  20. Divorce lawyers are such lawyers which can resolve cases relavent to divorce as well as family related issues.The couples who don't want to get lengthy divorce cases, these lawyers can help them to get their case resolved as soon as possible.Karen H Ross Law office

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  21. Family law covers a wide range of subjects including dissolution of marriage, domestic violence, adoption, and day-to-day care and contact with children. Disputing A Will

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  22. Thanks for the tips, Siomara. I am going through a divorce right now and we want to do everything we can to minimize the effect on the children. I liked your advice that our children are not our "friends" or counselors. It puts undue stress on the children when you try and talk to them about your marriage problems. They shouldn't have to deal with that.
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  23. Thanks for your great information.I really love the tips. It proved to be very helpful to me and I am sure to all the commenters here! It’s always nice when you can not only be informed, but also engaged! I’m sure you had joy writing this content.
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  24. These are some fantastic tips that you've put together. I think it's great that you mentioned how important it is to deal carefully with emotional issues in front of kids. It's never easy for children to see their parents struggling and getting highly emotional only makes the situation worse for them. Thanks for sharing your expertise on the subject, this was a great blog post! http://www.progressivemediation.net/services.html

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  25. Hi there! glad to drop by your page and found these very interesting and informative stuff. Thanks for sharing, keep it up!
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