Unfortunately, filing for divorce is never easy. Not only can it stir up a number of emotional issues for the separating couple, but it may also put significant amount of strain on their children. In the midst of a contentious legal battle, it is easy for parents to forget that their children will also be affected by the outcome of their divorce. For this reason, the Jacksonville divorce attorney at Charles E. Willmott, P.A. encourages all parents to learn more about the ways that they can help their children cope with divorce. No parent wants to watch their child suffer, or even be villainized by their ex-spouse, but the truth of the matter is that parental alienation syndrome (PAS) is a very real factor in many divorces. That being said, it may be in everyone's best interests to participate in the following steps:
#1: Explain the situation to your children early on in the process
- If your children are old enough to understand what is going on, there is no reason to hide your divorce from them any longer than is necessary. By sitting them down and explaining that this situation will be for the best and that it is not their fault, they may have an easier time coping. If you wait too long to clue them in, your children may end up feeling blind-sided.
#2: Encourage open communication between all parties
- While you and your former spouse may soon be involved in a contentious courtroom battle, it is important to understand that your children are just innocent bystanders. For this reason, it may be a good idea to encourage open communication between your entire family unit—rather than making your children feel like they have to side with one parent or the other.
#3: Don't talk poorly about your ex-spouse in front of the children
- Despite how you feel about your ex-spouse, speaking poorly about them in front of your children could have more lasting ramifications that you think. Your children may not be old enough to understand why you have made the decision to file for divorce, so making negative comments about the other parent may only add to their confusion.
#4: Ask your children how they feel about the divorce
- Although you may be scared to hear what they have to say, it is important for your children to feel like they can talk to you about their feelings—especially when coping with divorce. If they are harboring any sort of resentment toward you or your former spouse, it would beneficial for you to address the problem early on, rather than leaving the issue unresolved.
#5: Do not ask them to choose between you & your ex-spouse
- Asking your children to pick sides is never a good idea. Not only can it drum up feelings of resentment or betrayal, but it may ultimately cause them to alienate the other parent. Ideally, both parents should be involved in their children's lives—divorced or not. For this reason, it is important that you keep the drama between you and your ex-spouse.
If you are interested in discussing your case with a compassionate legal professional, the legal team at Charles E. Willmott, P.A. encourages you to get in touch with the Jacksonville divorce lawyer at our firm. Not only is Mr. Willmott a board-certified divorce expert, but also boasts an impressive nearly 26 years of experience. For this reason, you can trust that you are in good hands when you turn to him for guidance. Call our office today at (904) 849-5183 to learn more about how he can help.