Enduring child custody battles with your soon-to-be ex-spouse can be a difficult and painful process to endure for both you and your child. You not only have to explain to your child that you and your spouse are splitting, but also that their living arrangements will change.
It’s never a good idea to “wing it” when it comes to explaining custody to your child. Here are the best ways to do it:
Proactivity is Better than Reactivity
It’s in everyone’s best interest to be proactive when explaining custody to your child. That means having difficult conversations with your spouse and coming to a solid agreement before ever mentioning anything about it to your child.
When you are ready to speak with your child about custody, be sure to clearly explain the following:
- What custody is
- How custody works
- What their custody will look like
Even though things didn’t work out between you and your spouse, you did feel love for one another at some point, and it’s important to keep that in mind. Saying negative things about your spouse can put undue stress on your child, so it’s best to speak with a qualified professional when you need to vent your feelings.
Be Clear About the Adjustments
It’s very important that you reach an understanding with your spouse so that you can clearly explain what the changes will look like for your child. It’s normal for your child to be worried and scared. Children’s minds aren’t fully developed, so they will likely have difficulties emotionally processing the changes in the family from a rational perspective.
Some children may think their parents are splitting up because of something they did. They think it’s their fault and that if they had done x-y-z differently, then you would still be together. Make sure your child is fully aware that the divorce has nothing to do with him or her. Your child shouldn’t have to bear the weight of the divorce.
You do not have to go through this journey alone. As seasoned child custody attorneys, we understand how emotionally devastating this process can be. We always strive to formulate a parenting plan that meets our clients’ needs, as well as those of their children. Whether you are looking to reach an agreement with your co-parent or need a knowledgeable attorney to fight for you, Fenchel Family Law is here for you.