Help Your Child Through the Painful Process of Divorce by Avoiding 5 Common Mistakes

August 5, 2015
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While divorce is a painful and difficult process, it is an unfortunate reality that approximately 42% of American couples face. Avoid making the process more difficult by avoiding these five common family divorce mistakes:

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Mistake No. 1: Unprofessional Legal Advice
When you’re going through a divorce, suddenly everyone becomes a legal expert and wants to offer you their most valuable nuggets of wisdom. While outside perspectives are always helpful and appreciated, in the case of divorce, the only person you should be consulting for concrete legal advice is your trusted divorce attorney. Your divorce attorney knows your case better than anyone else, and should be your primary source for legal consultation throughout the process.

Mistake No. 2: Involving Your Children in Divorce Drama
Divorce is a painful and life-altering process for everyone involved — especially your children. As a parent, it’s your responsibility to make the process as smooth as possible for your child by supporting them emotionally, making them feel loved and heard, and leaving them out of your marital disputes. Bad mouthing your ex is not only in poor taste, but can prove to be psychologically traumatizing for a child of divorce.

Mistake No. 3: Not Involving Children in the Divorce Process
While involving your child in drama is not right, it’s also wrong to keep your child in the dark throughout the divorce proceedings. Rather, have continual and honest conversations about how separation and divorce will impact your family and day-to-day lives. While many fear that it will bring on feelings of stress, keeping your child in the dark is just as bad.

Mistake No. 4: Not Weighing Your Options
Believe it or not, even the most turbulent of splits often end in mediation. In fact, a quarter of couples undergoing the mediation process attribute their divorce to adultery and unfaithfulness. Nonetheless, mediation is a step by step alternative to litigation that requires divorcing couples to talk through the terms of their divorce. Although it may be painful to confront your divorce in such a manner, mediation is often a beneficial and protective process for children. Currently, 11% of custody cases are decided during the process of mediation. If you have questions about mediation, consult your divorce attorney for information about the process.

Mistake No. 5: Hanging Up Your Co-Parenting Hat
While divorce means that the traditional nuclear family unit has indeed broken up, this does not mean an end to parenting and the necessity to mediate and compromise with the father or mother of your child. In many cases, children end up having to be the middle-man between parents, which can prove to be stressful and psychologically traumatizing to children.

Ken Phillips
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