Let Kids Be Kids!
When getting divorced or filing for post-decree modifications, it is vital to keep the children out of the divorce action and legal proceedings. The more normal their life is, the better it will be for them and the easier it may be for them to navigate through the divorce of their parents. Divorce or changes to parenting time is traumatic for children. They don’t understand and frequently may feel that they are the cause of the divorce. Their emotional well being should remain paramount for the parents. It is important to just let them be kids and not burden them with adult pressures of the divorce.
Emotionally healthy parents do not expect that their children will take their side during a divorce or change in parenting time. While it may be natural for a child to gravitate to one parent over another, if there are siblings they may not all gravitate to the same parent. Letting the children maintain positive relationships with both parents – and their siblings – helps children find their way through the divorce. Making a child chose a side may have lifelong negative consequences to both parents. Seek counseling for children if they seem to be emotionally struggling with the divorce and subsequent changes.
It is critical to not make disparaging, negative, mean or hurtful comments about the other parent to family or friends especially when children are present. Even if they are not within earshot, comments may be repeated and eventually make it back to the children. Trust that kids will make their own assessments about their parents as they grow and mature. Intentionally setting up one parent as being the bad parent with children can have unintended consequences and alienate children as they grow. Also, be wary of posting on social media. Not only can it be used in the divorce and family court actions but also children may stumble across it. It is difficult to have content fully removed from the internet and social media.
There is a significant amount of paperwork that is required during a divorce including court documents, financial information and in some cases medical and mental health records. Safeguard that paperwork so that children do not have access to it. Allegations made in court pleadings may be emotionally damaging if children or teens read them. In Arizona, unlike other courts, family law court documents are not accessible on-line on the court’s website. This is another layer of protection to keep court documents that relate to minors and their families private.
Let kids be kids! If both parents work to have a positive, healthy environment focused on the well-being of the children both during and after the divorce, the family they will have a more successful outcome.
PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED on ABC15 SonoranLiving.com
About the author: Laurence Hirsch is a family law attorney at the Phoenix law firm of Jaburg Wilk. He has expertise representing high net worth individuals who have closely held businesses in their marital community.
"Jaburg Wilk has a unique culture that is different than other law firms. We call it the “JW Way.”