While it's true that divorce is an adult issue, when parents decide to end their marriages, it greatly affects their children's lives. As you prepare for a new lifestyle, your children's best interests are undoubtedly one of your highest priorities. You and your spouse must resolve numerous issues, including where your kids will live and how you'll tell them that you are severing your marital ties.
When you file a divorce petition in a Tennessee court, it doesn't necessarily have to ruin your children's lives. By remaining proactive and attentive to their needs, you can reassure them of your love and let them know you and their other parent are there to support them as they come to terms with the situation. It's a good idea to begin building a strong support team early on so that you know where to seek assistance for your kids, if needed.
The moment of informing your children that you're getting divorced may be one of the greatest challenges you'll encounter in the whole process. The following list includes helpful tips to buffer the shock they might feel when hearing such news:
- You and your spouse may want to approach the topic together. Having you both present upon learning of your impending divorce gives your children the impression that you are willing to work as a team for their sake.
- Avoid giving your kids too much information. No matter what their ages happen to be, they do not need to know the private details of your marital problems.
- You and your spouse may want to provide the opportunity for your children to ask questions while you're gathered as a family. You might also want to let each child know that he or she can speak to you in private as well.
- During your family discussion time, it's helpful to give a brief synopsis of the likely changes your children will encounter in their daily routines as you all navigate divorce proceedings together.
Your children will likely experience a wide range of emotion in the weeks and months that follow your initial divorce discussion. In other words, one meeting may not be enough to provide the encouragement and support they'll need as they transition to a new family dynamic.
Emotional factors to keep in mind
Children are often highly adaptable and resilient. However, you'll do well to remember the emotional issues listed next, which may affect your children's ability to cope:
- If children hear their parents arguing about issues that pertain to them, they may think that they are to blame for their parents' divorce.
- When speaking within earshot of your kids, resolve to avoid negative comments about your co-parent.
- Even if your kids will be living in the same house you all shared during the marriage, they might still have questions regarding who will take them to school or sporting events, whether they can still have sleepovers with their friends, and other issues related to their daily routine.
- It's always a good idea to remind your kids that spouses get divorced but parents do not divorce their children. This helps alleviate the fear of abandonment that is common among children whose parents divorce.
If you believe your children would benefit from speaking to a licensed counselor or from joining a family support group, you can tap into local resources at any time to arrange it.
When legal issues affect your family life
In a perfect world, you and your kids would move on in life without any negative incidents occurring in connection with your divorce. In reality, any number of legal issues might arise that necessitate the court's intervention, in which case, you may want to stay closely connected to an experienced family law attorney so that he or she can step in to address any legal problems as needed.