Divorce is a challenging process for anyone, but it’s especially hard on kids, regardless of their age. Kids don’t want to see their parents separate and they often don’t understand why it’s happening. Although you need time for yourself to process the divorce and make important decisions with your attorney, your kids need you during this transitional time as well. Your relationship may be changing with your spouse, but that doesn’t mean your relationship with your kids needs to also. We break down a few ways to maintain a relationship with kids during divorce in our guide below.
Depending on the age of your children, they may not understand what’s happening. Alternatively, they could blame themselves for the divorce; however, you must assure them that’s not the case. Make it clear that you want to maintain a relationship with them. Most kids merely want your time and attention. We understand that your schedule is busy, but you need to carve out time to spend with your kids. Your kids will have a lot of questions, and it’s best to be honest with them because you’re not going to have all the answers, especially in the beginning.
A major mistake parents make during a divorce is asking their kids for advice or—even worse—sending messages to your spouse through your kid. In most cases, you should never ask your child to make a decision about custody and who they’d rather live with. Your attorney, your spouse’s attorney, and a judge will make that determination based on the child’s best interest. In some cases, your child can influence the decision, but they shouldn’t be put into the position to make that decision. Furthermore, your child isn’t the reason for the divorce, so they should be kept out of the process as much as possible.
Even though you and your spouse’s relationship didn’t work, that doesn’t give you a right to belittle your spouse around your child. Of course, you and your spouse will have disagreements, but those don’t need to occur in front of the children. Furthermore, if your child hears you bad-mouthing their other parent, you’re going to look like “the bad guy.” No child should see or hear their parents argue; if they see or hear you causing the conflict, they may be less inclined to maintain a relationship with you.
During a divorce, kids need their parents more than ever before and the way you handle the divorce process can either significantly damage or strengthen your relationship with your kids. By following these ways to maintain a relationship with kids during divorce, you’ll leave the divorce with an even stronger relationship than before.
If you’re searching for an Illinois child support attorney, consider Schiller DuCanto & Fleck LLP. Our attorneys take pride in always operating in the best interest of our clients. With our extensive experience, we’re ready to help you navigate your options. If you’d like to schedule an appointment or have any questions, contact us today.