Children and divorce


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Face it. Not all relationships last forever. Some are meant to last, and there are those that are simply short-lived. Even marriage is not excluded from the dramas and hassles of breaking up. When married couples finally call it quits, that is when the subject of divorce comes in.

However, when married couples agree to pursue a divorce, the decision is oftentimes based on their emotions and not by logical thinking. Many people tend to become emotional when facing a divorce; they are not entirely thinking or taking into consideration the effects of their decision, especially upon their children.

Soon-to-be-separated couples with no children are lucky, for the process of divorce will be a lot easier for them. Apart from the hassle of haggling with lawyers and surviving the emotional stress of the entire divorce process, parents with children still need to think about the welfare of their kids. In fact, the children should be the first thing that parents should consider when thinking about ending their marriage.

For some couples who intend to get a divorce, they sometimes forget to ask their kids how they feel about it. They fail to see that their children may experience emotional abuse on the entire divorce process. With the separation as a start of a new life for divorced parents, they should try to know their new responsibilities, and this include trying their very best to protect their kids from the negative effects of divorce.

The following are the common effects of divorce on children:

1. The child may feel fear and anxiety on the issue

If the children are too young to understand the concept of divorce, then it is most likely that understanding and accepting the whole situation will be a lot easier. However, if teenagers or adolescents are the ones involved, then divorced parents may have to deal with more serious emotional issues. It is possible for teens to be afraid or be anxious about the whole divorce process. They may feel ashamed and conscious on how their peers may react on their new family status or they may be scared and unsure of what the future lies for them.

2. The child may feel torn between two parents

It is very common among divorce issues wherein the child may feel torn between his parents. Divorced couples oftentimes overlook this trauma on their children, for they become obsessed about whom their child should spend the most time with. The child, of course, may feel guilty when choosing between his parents whom he both loved and respected.

To protect children from the negative effects of divorce, parents should:

1. Be selective about the information

Remember that every child has different ways to cope with their parents’ divorce. Some may take it lightly and others may take it very seriously. This commonly happens when the parents themselves fail to spare their kids from the dirty works of the divorce. Hence, it is best not to include the children in the issues of the divorce process.

2. Be available whenever their child needs them

Although the divorce requires a lot of time and attention, parents should not forget to spend more time with their children. It is a must for parents to be always present whenever their child wants to talk to them.

Custody

The court plays a significant role in determining what is in the ‘best interests’ of your child. The court considers all aspects including physical, educational, spiritual, emotional as well as preferential requirements of a child, so it makes a study of homes of both parents, along with schools, location, neighbourhoods and facilities, before making a decision on custody.

Although the courts have the best interests in mind, there cannot be anyone more important in making the best decision for their children than parents. Parents should try and settle their Child Custody issues outside the courts. A custody decision arrived on your own with two agreeing parents is more desirable than the one which is disputed and determined by the court.

Preparing for the Child Custody trial, you should possess certain documents and information related to your children, which will help determine the best interests of your child. It is better if you maintained a record of your children’s life about events which affect them, like visiting with the other parent, grandparents, doctor’s appointment, school activities, family and religious activities, medical appointments and counselling dates, etc. You should support your position, by keeping notes with you regarding,

1. Parent’s Home: This factors determines whether you can provide good surroundings and adequate shelter for your children, the size of the house, neighbourhood, availability of help and babysitters, hospitals, bathrooms, bedrooms, etc play a significant role in determining the best one for the child. Though not an important point, it does help make a good impression.

2. New relationships: This is a comparatively irrelevant factor in determining Child Custody cases, the court will consider this factor if only the relationship makes any impact on the child’s well being. If the new relationship does not play any important role, then this point will not be relevant to determination of Child custody.

3. Status quo: It is an important factor in determining custody case, if a child’s parents reside in different districts, it in unlikely that the court will order to change the residence during the academic year, especially if the child is being properly brought up. If you want a change in status quo, you will be required to furnish a strong reason for this. A good example would be an issue with the current conditions unsafe for the child.

4. Child’s preference: A child’s preference is not considered by the court since the court will not give a child to make a decision for himself, however, this might not be the case if the child happens to be a teenager and possess enough power to think and evaluate position.

5. Parent’s availability: Full time parenting has an advantage over working full time for supporting oneself. However, the court might not deter from giving you the custody only because you need to work to support yourself and your child.

These are just a few things to consider while preparing for your Child Custody case.

Adapted from International Adoption Articles.

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