Helping Children Transition Through Divorce or Custody Disputes / by Cassandra Hearn

 

All parents simply want the best for their children, which naturally includes helping their children through the difficult and uncertain time of separation and divorce. There are several techniques parents can employ to help ease their children's transition through this difficult time. 

 The most basic way to help your children is to not discuss the divorce, custody issues, or legal proceedings in front of them. These matters are best discussed while the children are absent. On a related note, avoiding arguments in their presence will also help. The children do not need to bear personal witness to their parents' concerns and disputes. Presenting a united front even during a divorce will help your children feel more relaxed. 

 Another key issue is to not bad mouth the other parent in front of the children. Making derogatory comments about the other parent is not only damaging to your children, but can also hurt your custody case. Judges take a harsh approach to parents who try to alienate their children from the other parent. Even if the other parent is behaving badly, these problems should be kept between the parents and not shared with the children. 

 Family and individual therapy can also be very useful in helping children deal with divorce. Mental health professionals are well-equipped to assist children understand and process a separation and divorce. Family therapy including the parents and the children can also help the parents in their transition and help build trust and co-parenting skills. Informing your children's teachers of the pending divorce could also be helpful, as teachers can assist in identifying acting out behavior, allowing the parents to address the child's concerns quickly. 

 As children thrive on stability, talking to a child about what to expect can also help. Making sure a child knowns which days each parent will have, who will be picking the child up from school, who will be present at extracurricular activities, and other details will help a child maintain a sense of security. Some children may benefit from having a special calendar with days marked to show which parent will have the child one which days. 

 Above all, consistency between the two households is key. Parents should work together to provide a consistent experience at both houses, in terms of rules, bed times, and similar structure. Most judges in the San Diego Superior Court highly recommend that parents who are struggling with transitioning enroll and participate in Kid’s Turn.  Kid’s Turn has a wealth of information and resources to make the hard times easier.

  If you are concerned about helping your child through your divorce or separation, call us today at 619-800-0384. We have extensive experience in custody cases and have helped many clients work through the difficult transition with their children. Call us today for an appointment to talk about your children and what is best.