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Posted on April 30, 2024

5 Ways to Put Your Kids First During a Divorce

Going through a divorce is undoubtedly a challenging and emotional process, and it becomes even more complex when children are involved. As parents, it is essential to prioritize the well-being and happiness of your children during this difficult time. While it may seem overwhelming, there are practical steps you can take to ensure that your kids are protected and supported throughout the divorce process. In this article, we will explore four key ways to put your children first during a divorce, helping them navigate this transition with care and compassion.

One crucial resource to consider when prioritizing your children’s needs during a divorce is a reputable Manhattan divorce attorney. A skilled lawyer can provide invaluable guidance and support, not only in the legal aspects of the divorce but also in matters concerning child custody and visitation rights. At the law office of Richard Roman Shum, our New York divorce attorneys may be able to help facilitate effective communication between you and your ex-spouse, ensuring that your children’s voices are heard and their needs are met. Whether it’s negotiating custody arrangements or mediating conflicts, our team can be an invaluable ally in safeguarding your children’s well-being throughout the divorce process. Call us today at (646) 259-3416 to schedule a consultation.

1. Keep All Fighting in Private

One of the reasons many couples get divorced is because the fighting and disagreements never seem to end or get resolved. When the topic of divorce is broached, it’s normal to feel upset. However, if you feel like your emotions will turn into aggressive anger, make sure your children aren’t present for that conversation. To protect the emotional health of your children, make sure all heated arguments are kept behind closed doors. This will help your children feel less anxious about the changes to the family dynamic and assure them that they can still trust you and your spouse.

2. Have an Honest Discussion About the Upcoming Changes

When a child’s routine is disturbed, it can cause them to lash out, lose sleep, or develop anxiety. To prevent this from happening, you and your spouse should sit down with your kids and have an age-appropriate and open conversation about the changes that will happen once the divorce is finalized. Have a schedule worked out so they’ll feel secure in the homes of both parents. Try and keep their daily routines and rules/expectations the same at both houses. Consistency can help your children during the transition.

3. Allow Your Children to Express Themselves

As parents, we often find ourselves censoring and correcting our children’s behavior. “Don’t call your sister names!” and “That’s your last warning!” come to mind. But during divorce, give your kids some space to express their emotions. That doesn’t mean allowing them to be rude or disrespectful, but if they feel angry, sad, or confused, let them express those emotions in whatever words they can. Sometimes, it can be hard for kids to find the appropriate words for their feelings, so give them time and space to do so.

4. Don’t Treat Your Children Like Friends

Basically, this means don’t talk to or discuss things with your kids that would discuss with your adult friends. Trash-talking your spouse or seeking emotional support shouldn’t be directed at your children. While it’s okay to cry together and talk about your feelings, do so in a way that makes your child feel supported, not the other way around. Your children are already feeling like their foundation is being shaken, so to add any extra stress would be detrimental to your kids’ emotional well-being.

5. Keep Routines Intact

Children thrive on routine and predictability, which can be significantly disrupted during a divorce. To minimize the impact on your kids, make every effort to maintain their usual routines and family traditions. This can include keeping meal times, bedtimes, and extracurricular activities consistent. Even if your children will be dividing their time between two homes, try to synchronize schedules with your co-parent to provide stability.

If you have family traditions like Friday movie nights or Sunday afternoon park visits, continue with these as much as possible. It offers a sense of normalcy in a time when many things might be changing for your children. If certain traditions can’t be continued, consider creating new ones that fit the new family dynamic. This will not only help your children adjust but also build new positive memories and experiences for them to cherish.

Ways to Put Your Kids First During a Divorce Description
Keep all fighting in private Keep heated arguments behind closed doors to protect children’s emotional well-being and maintain trust.
Have an honest discussion about the upcoming changes Openly discuss changes post-divorce, establish a schedule, and maintain consistent routines for stability.
Allow your children to express themselves Give space for children to express emotions within boundaries, allowing them to articulate their feelings.
Don’t treat your children like friends Avoid discussing adult matters or seeking emotional support from children to prevent added stress.
Keep Routines Intact Maintain their usual routines and family traditions, including meal times, bedtimes, and extracurricular activities. Synchronize schedules between two homes to provide stability.

Should Co-Parents Spend Time Together

Co-parenting is a complex issue with no one-size-fits-all solution. Determining the best approach relies on the specific circumstances of the family and prioritizing the well-being of the children involved. While some co-parents find it beneficial to spend time together to support their children and maintain a positive relationship, others may find it more advantageous to establish clear boundaries and focus on separate parenting responsibilities.

When deciding whether to spend time together, co-parents must consider the emotional impact on their children. Open communication is crucial in explaining the situation to children and addressing any confusion or distress they may experience. It is important for parents to ensure that their children understand the reasons behind the divorce and that spending time together does not imply a reconciliation. Offering clear and age-appropriate explanations can help children navigate the complexities of their parents’ separation.

Additionally, co-parents need to evaluate how spending time together may influence their parenting plan and overall co-parenting dynamic. If conflicts and tensions arise in each other’s presence, it may be more beneficial to establish separate routines and minimize contact to maintain stability for the children. Conversely, if co-parents can maintain a cooperative and amicable relationship while spending time together, it can lead to more effective co-parenting and better decision-making for the children’s well-being.

Ultimately, the central focus in making decisions about co-parenting arrangements should be the well-being and happiness of the children. Seeking guidance from professionals such as family therapists or mediators who specialize in co-parenting dynamics can be helpful for co-parents. They can offer valuable insights and assist co-parents in navigating the challenges that arise in post-divorce or separation co-parenting relationships.

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Factors Affecting a Judge’s Decision Regarding Child Custody

New York judges have a lot of discretion when it comes to determining what is in the best interest of a child. A judge will take into account not only the best interests of a child but also the circumstances and unique facts of each divorce case.

A judge in New York can assess any factor that is relevant to the child’s well-being when deciding custody.  They may also look at the child’s mental and physical health as well as the ability of each parent to provide stability for the child.

Both the preference of the child and the parents for custody are also important factors that the judge will look into. They will need to determine if joint custody is appropriate. The working relationship between the parents and whether each parent is willing to foster a close relationship with the other when deciding joint custody will also be taken into consideration. 

The safety of a child in the care of a parent is an important custody factor. A custody decision may be affected by a parent’s history of domestic violence and could lead to that parent having supervised visits.

Siblings should be kept together if possible. However, each child’s needs will be evaluated and, in certain cases, a judge might decide that it is in the best interest of each child to separate siblings.

At the Law Office of Richard Roman Shum, you’ll receive personalized care during your divorce. As a father who has gone through the divorce process himself, Attorney Richard Shum will keep your children a priority during this stressful time. If you’d like to set up a free consultation, contact us at (646) 259-3416.

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