Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

For the Children: How to Settle Your Divorce with the Kids in Mind

Ending a marriage can be a big change for both parents and kids alike. However, children aren’t necessarily mature enough to cope with changing circumstances as well as adults can. Therefore, it is important that you take the time to develop a plan to end the marriage in a manner that is sensitive to your child’s feelings.

Speak with a Family Law Attorney

A family lawyer may be able to provide insight into what types of service are available for children and families going through a divorce. Legal counsel may also be able to help develop strategies to settle the divorce in a timely and civil manner to reduce the stress that you may feel. These tips could help to avoid a prolonged custody battle.

Be Honest with Your Children

You should be transparent about what divorce is and what changes the children should expect moving forward. They should also know that the divorce wasn’t their fault and that both parents are still committed to their future success. There is no reason to get too detailed as to why the marriage ended other than to note that relationships don’t always work out. Ideally, you will have multiple conversations as the divorce progresses to get a sense of how they feel and what they need to get through the transition.

Don’t Use Them during Divorce Talks

Your children are not pawns to be used in a divorce settlement or a custody proceeding. If you have a problem with your former spouse, talk about that problem with the former spouse. You could also choose to talk with a therapist or a trusted friend when you need to vent. Ideally, your kids will never hear a bad word uttered about either parent both during and after the divorce.

Encourage a Relationship with the Other Parent

It is important for children to have relationships with both of their parents. Therefore, you should insist that your kids talk with their mother or father as often as possible. You should also invite the other parent to family events and during holiday celebrations if it is safe to do so.

Tim Esterdahl

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