Divorce can be stressful for both spouses and their children. It can involve several months or even years of going to court, filling out complicated paperwork, consulting with lawyers and, on top of all that, dealing with the emotional pain of a family breakup.
Even if two spouses are amicably parting ways, the children may not see it that way. If they are too young to comprehend what’s going on, they may become confused and agitated. Older kids and teens might lash out because they’re angry. Each individual has a unique personality, so the truth is, you never really know exactly how a child is going to handle a divorce.
Legally and emotionally, divorce affects children in different ways. If you are thinking about getting a divorce and you have children with your spouse, here are some of the concerns you need to take into consideration.
Children May Not See Both Parents as Much
When you go through the divorce process, you will work with your lawyer and your spouse to decide on a custody agreement. However, the court will determine what is in the best interests of the child if you are unable to come up with an agreement on your own.
For example, if you have young children who are used to their childhood home, their school, their friends’ homes and their nearby creature comforts, it may be detrimental to move them far away.
One parent could get custody since they live in the childhood home, and the children may become upset that they don’t get to see the other parent as much. Or, if the court rules that the parent who is far away can have full or joint custody, then the children may have to switch schools, make new friends and get used to a new neighborhood. It is not easy for a child and it may make them feel like they have less stability in their life.
Additionally, if one parent gets custody, the children will not only have less time with the other parent, but with their other parent’s extended family members as well. This can certainly cause distress if children cannot see their grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles as often as they did prior to the divorce.
Children May Not Get to Have as Much Fun
You want your children to be as happy and have as much fun as possible in life. However, when they suddenly go from a household where both parents are working to one where only one parent is working, they may not get the toys they want, get to go on as many trips, experience as many vacations or get new clothes all the time. Parents need to be aware of this and work closely with the children to adjust their expectations, so they can better adapt to their new normal.
Children May Feel Like They Are Caught in the Middle
When parents get divorced, they might start talking to their children about their ex-spouse in a negative light, especially if one spouse is not making timely child support and/or spousal support payments or sticking to the custody schedule.
Children could feel like they are torn between both parents and caught in the middle of a very explosive situation. If parents do not stop talking this way in front of their children, the children may turn on one or both parents, disconnecting from them and developing other behavioral issues.
Children May Get Frustrated with New Situations
After a divorce is finalized, both parents may start dating new people and could potentially get married and bring new children/stepchildren into the family. They could move or take on new hobbies, religious values, world viewpoints and much more. Children are not used to this sort of change and might respond by being mean towards new partners and siblings, or totally withdraw from their situation at home.
Having a Healthier Divorce Process
Children are very impressionable and could easily become upset because their parents are divorcing. While it is important for parents to validate their child’s feelings and be as supportive as they can, they will also need to do everything possible to help the child accept the fact that his/her parents are no longer going to be together.
By having a skilled and knowledgeable family law attorney by your side, you can mediate emotional situations and discover ways to make the divorce process easier on your children. You can keep the situation professional and not resort to name calling or other detrimental behavior. Then, you will be able to move forward in a healthier way, ensuring that you and your children are protected.
Contact Mark Nowell Law Firm
If you are going through a divorce in South Carolina and need representation, the Nowell Law Firm is here to help. Message us online or call our office today at (864) 469-2481 for a personalized consultation.