Divorces can be hard on everyone involved. Children may have an especially difficult time with understanding and accepting the new changes in their lives.
Still, kids can also be surprisingly resilient. If you take measures to minimize the strain on your children during the divorce process, especially when making custody arrangements, everyone can return to a more normal life much more easily.
Compromise Can Be Key
Of course, there are some things you will not know at the outset of the divorce process. But things that will not change, such as your unconditional love, your commitment to staying involved in your child's life, and your availability as someone to talk to should be continually communicated.
In many divorces, child custody is a hotly contested issue; after all, each parent usually wants as much time as possible with the children. Even so, you should strive to come to some kind of agreement with your former partner about how to handle the children's living arrangements as quickly as possible, as children benefit from regaining a sense of stability early on.
As soon as you become aware of future custody arrangements, you should explain them to your child. If you cannot find some middle ground, a court will decide on a custody plan. However, court proceedings take time. Additionally, judges have a limited ability to gain insight into your life and the lives of your children; as parents, you and your former partner are in a better position to decide what is truly best for your kids.
Never use children as leverage in property division. The only concern in a custody dispute should be the kids, and disagreements about other areas of the divorce should be dealt with separately.
A Working Relationship
After the conclusion of the divorce, try to maintain at least a civil relationship with your ex-spouse for the sake of your children: at a minimum, do no lay blame on or speak negatively about your child's other parent in front of him or her.
Divorce is a big challenge, but by being reassuring, following a few guidelines, and keeping focused on what is important, you can make the transition easier on your kids.