Jenna Heavner, an attorney in Mallor Grodner’s Indianapolis office, devotes her practice exclusively to family law — particularly when children are involved. Jenna offers the following five tips helpful for divorcing parents who desire to ease the very difficult process for their children.
#1…You’re not divorcing your children (and neither is your soon-to-be ex).
- If possible, both parents should be present to tell the children about the divorce. It is much better for children to hear it from their parents, rather from than friends or other family members.
- Do not disparage the other parent. Ensure your children that they are loved by both parents. If they need help, get it for them. Children of divorcing parents often benefit from talking to a qualified professional.
#2…Stability is key.
- Don’t move them unless necessary. With the uncertainty of divorce, it is often in the children’s best interests to stay in the same home and school, among a support network of friends and family that they know and love.
- If you owe child support, pay it (and if you’re owed child support, don’t complain to your kids about it). Financial circumstances of both parents change with divorce. Your children should not suffer
#3…Keep it out of the courtroom, if possible.
- It is not always worth the emotional, physical, and financial undertaking to litigate every issue that arises in a divorce. If you can resolve it directly with your ex, do it. Mediation or arbitration are also options worth considering.
- If your case must go before the judge, shield your children from the conflict as much as possible. Do not discuss your case or your ex with them.
#4…Re-adjust your focus on the children, as necessary.
- Do not let your anger and disapproval tempt you to isolate your children from the other parent. Your children’s interests are most important, and they likely need meaningful contact and support from both sides.
- If you need help, get it. Your children need you to be strong. Don’t rely on them to be your sounding board or your therapist, and don’t rely on drugs or alcohol to help you cope, either.
#5…It will get better.
- Seemingly big issues today are sometimes forgotten tomorrow. Your child’s forgotten soccer cleats will one day be overshadowed by paying for his first car and college decision-making.
- Know that divorce is always difficult – especially when children are involved – but focusing on the future (while learning from the past) is the most effective way of successful co-parenting.
Contact Jenna Heavner in our Indianapolis office at 317.453.2000.