Three Ways to Protect Your Kids During a Divorce
Angelina Jolie filed for divorce more than two years ago. She and Brad Pitt are still trying to finalize the terms of their split. In November, the pair finally found common ground and were able to reach a child custody agreement. However, several reports indicate that the contentious divorce has strained the relationships Jolie and Pitt have with their kids. In fact, Pitt believes that he may “never be able to repair” his relationships with his two oldest sons, Maddox (17) and Pax (15).
Children will always be affected when their parents decide to get a divorce. The longer it takes to hash out the terms and finalize the split, the harder it can be for any kids involved. If you’re thinking about getting a divorce, it’s important to consider how you’ll protect your kids during the process. Fortunately, there are many ways to protect your child’s best interest before, during, and after the divorce process.
Don’t Ask Your Kids to Take Sides
You’ll have to figure out a lot of details when you get a divorce. One of the most important details will be who gets custody of the kids, and when. It may seem like a great idea to ask your kids which parent they’d rather live with the majority of the time.
However, this can ultimately put your kids in a very uncomfortable position. They may see it as having to choose between two parents they love equally. Rather than staying out of the dispute, they might feel like they’re right in the middle.
This isn’t to say you should never take your child’s wishes into consideration. Just be sure that your child doesn’t feel pressure to provide input or an answer.
Don’t Speak Negatively About Your Spouse
Remember the old saying, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything, at all”? Try to remind yourself of this frequently when you’re spending time with your kids during the divorce. Just because you may have negative feelings toward your spouse doesn’t mean that your child does.
If you express these feelings or speak negatively about the child’s other parent, you could cause some serious damage. If your child is protective of the other parent, you could strain your own relationship with your kid. On the other hand, your child may not fully understand what divorce is and why you’re saying negative things. They may begin to think negatively about their own parent. Not because of their own experiences, but rather because of the things you’ve said.
Prioritize Your Kid’s Best Interests
It’s easy to get caught up in the stress and negative aspects of a divorce. You may want to punish your spouse for something they’ve done by getting everything you can out of the split. This can include fighting for sole custody or limiting the amount of time your spouse can spend with your kids. While this may be great for you, it’s always best to take a step back and consider what’s truly in your child’s best interests.
Does your child enjoy spending time with your spouse? Can your spouse offer your child a safe and loving home? Is your spouse involved in many aspects of your child’s life, including after-school activities and education? If so, trying to “win” the custody battle could end up harming your child.
Try to put your own emotions and wishes aside. Sit down with your spouse and focus on figuring out a custody plan that really serves your child’s needs. Giving special attention to your custody arrangement can be a great help to your children during this difficult time.
Are you thinking about getting a divorce? Do you need help figuring out how to navigate the process and do what’s best for your family? Our Los Angeles family law attorneys can help. Call to schedule your free consultation today.