Child Custody | Co-Parenting
You Can Have a Child-centered Divorce

Divorce is tough, whether you’ve been married for one year or twenty-five. But you want to reduce the traumatic effects on everyone involved so your family can move on to a better future. And most of all, parents want to do their best not to hurt their children.

Even when you do your best to stay calm, kids can feel the tension. Children of divorce often feel stuck-in-the middle. As parents, your goal is to reduce children’s fear and worries and help them through this major life change.

As an experienced family law attorney, I’ve helped many couples negotiate the twists and turns of divorce. I’ve seen what helps and know what makes things worse for children. 

Don’t worry; there are definitely things we can do to reduce conflict and its harmful effects. 

The best solution is a child-centered divorce that keeps the focus on what’s best for the children. As an attorney, I know most parents want what’s best for their kids and often just need guidance to find solutions.

1. Stay out of court.

Enter your divorce process with a commitment to explore compromise and mediation. Your attorney can help you avoid the escalating conflict that ends up in court.

For example, our firm offers collaborative law, a form of negotiation where parents and their attorneys work together to resolve issues. 

When parents solve potential problems through cooperation and collaboration, they model lessons for their children, which they will use for the rest of their lives. Instead of hearing their parents argue, you can show them positive solutions.

2. Develop a written parenting plan that puts the children first.

Make a commitment to peaceful co-parenting. Kids of all ages benefit when their routines are consistent and parents agree on significant issues. Unfortunately, differences in parenting may have created conflict in your marriage. Now is the time to develop a mutual plan moving forward. 

Divorce is frightening for children. Their minds often swirl with thoughts such as:

“Is Dad leaving because I was bad?”

“What if I move and never see my best friend again?”

“It’s scary seeing my parents so sad. Maybe I need to help take care of them?”

As parents, focus on what is best for the children. Sometimes that may mean changing your expectations or coming up with creative solutions to reduce stress for your child. 

That’s O.K. You’re the adults, and your lawyer will be there to unravel those complicated decisions. They will help you develop a plan that establishes the expectations of both parties so everyone can move forward.

3. Expect children’s behavior to reflect their feelings.

Spend extra time with your kids while they adjust to change. Yes, it’s tough to see your ex. And picking up the kids means you may, but you love your children, and they need your attention.

During stressful times, children may revert to the behavior of an earlier age, such as waking up at night and having meltdowns. Be extra patient with your children as they adjust. If it’s hard for you—it’s twice as hard for them. 

Don’t hide your sadness, but try to reflect positive assurance that soon life will be more peaceful and you’ll all feel happier. Encourage children to talk to you openly and share their emotions. Often, these tough times can bring you closer.

4. Remember, your former partner is your child’s parent. Forever.

Reinforce the positive traits of your former partner to your children. You want them to have a positive self-image, which can be damaged if they hear negative comments about their other parent.

Bring your worries, fears, and emotions to your attorney and therapist, not your kids.

No matter how tempting it is to talk about your ex to your kids, it can be harmful and sometimes makes kids feel like they have to choose.

5. Children are the top priority in your divorce

Divorce is complicated, but it doesn’t have to be horrible. Work to create a sense of trust with your co-parent, believing that you both want what’s best for your children.

Child-centered divorce means making sure every decision considers what’s best for your kids. Children want and need both parents in their lives. Reassure them of your love, keep their needs front and center, and choose a compassionate, experienced lawyer. 

I know you and your family can make it through the divorce process and move on to live your best lives.

For help with possession and access and other child custody and visitation matters in an Austin divorce or custody case, contact Lazar Law at 512-477-1600.
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