The divorce procedure itself only requires the involvement of the couple who is legally separating. The split can have serious consequences on other people in their lives, especially children. If a divorce is handled poorly it can have negative long-term effects on children such as poor self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. When you and your spouse are separating you need to keep them as far from the divorce drama as possible but still maintain an active, loving role in their lives.
Consider Their Ages
When explaining the situation younger children may have a harder time understanding why the split is occurring. Children learn about love and respect from their immediate family members and caretakers, so when a marriage ends the child may worry that they aren’t loved anymore. A teenager can understand why something is happening for logical reasons, but logic and emotions don’t always line up. Teenagers and preteens, while they may be able to comprehend the situation, their emotional response might not reflect that. Older children, such as college students or young adults, may not live at home or nearby so the news can catch them off guard. They may feel guilt if younger siblings are at home and they aren’t available to help them adjust.
Deciding custody depends mostly on the age of the children, but it can also be influenced by the living situation after the divorce is finalized. Some divorcees will stay in the same city as their former spouse, some will move elsewhere, and others will co-parent together in the same home so the children don’t have to fear relocating. A divorce mediation lawyer in Nassau County can help you understand how custody laws work and how to work together with raising children.
Watch What You Say
All too often couples experiencing a divorce may say nasty things about their spouse in the presence of their children, sometimes to keep the children on ‘their side’. Other times, especially when the children are adults, divorcing couples may complain or vent about their partners to their children. It’s important to remember that an adult child is still your child, and shouldn’t be treated as a friend to confide in or share all of your thoughts and feelings with. Especially if those thoughts and feelings are negative.
Family therapy can give the children and parents a safe space to talk about feelings they might not know how to share. They may worry that you will be upset with them, or scared that they’ll have to ‘choose’ one and the other will resent them. The goal is to make sure they feel supported and taken care of while you and your spouse work with a Long Island divorce attorney to finalize the process. At Long Island Divorce Mediation we offer mediation services specifically for calculating child support as well as working through child custody. Your marriage might be ending but your family doesn’t have to fall apart too.