Getting a divorce is very complicated, even if there aren't any children involved. However, it is more so when the separating parents have a child or children. In this process, parents must put aside their deteriorated feelings for each other and consider the children's best interests above their own. This is because children are innocent parties caught in an unfortunate situation, and they don't have the emotional maturity to process this lifelong change.
This article provides tips for walking through a divorce involving children. Read on to learn more.
1. Communicate civilly
While you can stop being husband and wife, your children still have you for parents, and as much as possible, you should try to make sure they have a good relationship with your spouse. This means that you do not fight in front of them, use them as messengers for each other or bad-mouth your spouse to them.
Be respectful when communicating, and don't hoard important information. If you're unable to be civil, you can use your lawyers to communicate, but you must still act honourably. Until a ruling is made by the court on which parent is the primary guardian, you make the important decisions together. This means that you should not, for instance, hide information about the child's education and make a decision on your own – this will not help your case in court when it comes to light.
2. Make a parenting plan
It is possible for you and your spouse to be separated and living in the same house, which can make parenting easier. Once you live in separate houses, however, there should be some kind of arrangement detailing who lives with the child, who has parental responsibility, child support, how the other parent interacts with the child, etc.
You can make an informal plan verbally or in writing, but this isn't enforceable if either parent contravenes it. You can also make a written plan in consultation with a family law firm, or a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner, especially if you can't afford a lawyer. This can be converted into a consent order by filing in court, at which point it becomes legally binding. In the custody ruling, the court considers the terms of your parenting plan, especially if it's working well for the children.
3. Be flexible
Finally, it's important to create a parenting schedule that works for both parents. Additionally, if circumstances make one parent unavailable, try to fill in for them because that might happen to you in future. Above all, don't use such opportunities to throw darts at your spouse with the children – this will hurt them and make you look bad. Your children will thrive better seeing the two of you working together, even if you're no longer together. As a bonus, they won't be able to play you against each other to get their way.Share