5 Tips on How to Treat Minor Children While Going Through a Divorce
With the holidays in the rearview mirror, many of us have set resolutions
and goals for ourselves for 2019 in pursuit of happiness and personal
development. For some, the attainment of these objectives involves the
dissolution of their marriage.
However, with an eye on a brighter future and the fair distribution of
marital assets the future of the most precious and valuable marital “asset”
is often treated the most poorly: the children.
As a psychologically-trained divorce mediator, divorce attorney for over
thirty five years, and physician’s assistant, I’ve found that
minor children are the subject of serious contention and are often used
as pawns in the marital conflict which always negatively affects the child’s
well being and emotional maturation process. I am working with two couples
right now in the mediation process who have forgotten it’s crucial
to navigate divorce not only in their best interest but also in the best
interest of their children.
Here are five guidelines for parents to consider in regard to the treatment
of their minor children when going through a divorce.
Consult a therapist
or trained mediator to discuss the best, most age-appropriate way to break the news of divorce
to your children. This therapist should be an objective, non-partisan
third party concerned only with the emotional well-being of his or her
Inform your children together as a united front so they know each parent has an equal part in the dissolution
of the marriage (details are not necessary) and know that it’s okay
for both parents to be loved and respected. This also assists in letting
the children know that it’s about
you and not about
Be respectful when speaking about your former spouse to your children. This keeps your
children out of the line of fire and on the sidelines with much of their
Protect your children, maintaining your parental role. The children shall not be spoken to like
a coworker, friend, or your local bartender when it comes to talking about
your divorce. They don’t need to know who’s getting to keep
the toaster or the intricacies of the dissatisfying sex life you had with
your former spouse.
“Am I acting out of hurt or am I acting in the best interests of
my children?” Does the custody and control you seek reflect your need to show your former
spouse who’s boss or is it truly in the best interests of your children?
Long drawn-out custody battles can be emotionally debilitating for you
and the children and can cause the waste of hundreds of thousands of dollars
that could be going toward your child’s college fund.
Children do not deserve to become pieces of ammunition during a divorce.
By allowing them to be impartial observers, you’re giving them the
chance at not only a childhood, but a well-adjusted adulthood.
If you have any questions about the many variables of the treatment of
minor children while going through a divorce, please feel free to call
me at 212.734.1551, and I’ll be happy to advise you on how to keep
your children first!!