How age may affect your child’s post-divorce needs

During your child custody case in Georgia, one of the judge’s primary concerns will be making the decisions that are in your child’s best interests. To do this, he or she must consider the state of your child’s emotions, developmental stage and psychological needs. We at the Siemon Law Firm often provide advice to parents who are concerned about how the custody agreement may affect their child’s mental and emotional health.

According to Psychology Today, children of all ages need to know that they are not to blame for their parents’ divorce. Experts also recommend providing some level of routine and consistency in order to recover from the changes that a divorce brings. Naturally, a teenager does not need as much structure as a young child. But, even at this stage, a young person needs to be notified ahead of time about changes that will be made, and the specific ways that these will affect his or her life.

If your child is in elementary or middle school, sharing less information about the divorce may be warranted, but you may still want to bring up the subject at least a week before any changes are made. School and social schedules may provide children between the ages of five and 12 with some of the structure and consistency they need, but much of it will come from the parenting plan, and from you and the other parent, as well.

Infants, toddlers and preschool children may experience developmental and emotional issues if they are not allowed to maintain frequent contact with both you and the other parent. If one of you has formed a stronger primary attachment with your child, time away from that parent will be more difficult. Creating a parenting plan with shorter periods between contact with each parent and maintaining as many routines from before the divorce as possible are ways to help very young children cope and adapt. More information about parenting schedules is available on our web page.

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