Many people believe that a divorce has to be an all out war involving family members, friends and even the children choosing sides. They will wage battle after battle, and allow the anger and hostility to consume every aspect of their lives. Going through the New Jersey divorce process is a very stressful experience. However, when there are broken hearts and hurt feelings left in its wake, a divorce can get downright ugly.
The saddest part of this tragedy is that the children get caught in the crossfire. The children of a combative divorce often suffer tremendous emotional strain because their developing psychological frameworks can’t handle the pressure when they are continuously exposed to the negativity. As a Jersey City divorce lawyer, I often see how the battles that parents wage against each other can create an unhealthy atmosphere for themselves and their families.
While your children will not, and should not, be involved in the negotiations of your divorce, here are three ways to handle your divorce proceedings to ensure the process takes your child’s feelings into consideration.
Keep it respectful
First you should demand a respectful atmosphere between you and your soon to be ex-spouse. Often referred to as “taking the high road”, each and every time there is a communication between parties through email, in person, letters, text messages, etc, they should be handled without getting nasty. Of course there will be some rough discussions, but even those should be handled with a high level of professionalism. This won’t be easy, but you have to keep in mind how harsh communications can affect the children, even when they aren’t intended to.
Do whats in the best interest of the children
Always put the best interests of your children first. I have seen many divorcing parents in Hudson and Bergen Counties use parenting time and financial support as bargaining chips in both divorce proceedings and in their lives. Rather than take into consideration what is truly in the best interest of the children, they negotiate with hate and manipulation. It is never healthy for one parent to threaten the other with dragging the children into the middle of their battle. Parenting time and child support negotiations should be contingent upon what is best for the children.
Promote a healthy relationship with the other parent
Accept and promote the fact that it is healthy for your child to have a relationship with their other parent. Each parent should encourage the child to go and visit the other parent rather than making comments like “you have to go” or “It’s court ordered and I’ll get into a lot of trouble if I don’t make you go”. A far better statement would be, “Your mom/dad loves you and wants to spend time with you too”.
Its not always easy
Now I realize this all sounds well and fine, in a perfect world you would be able to maintain complete emotional control at all times. I’ve been practicing in family law far too long to know that once you get on the emotional roller coaster of a divorce, you will slip now and again, that is perfectly natural, you are only human and this is a very difficult and emotionally challenging time in your life. The best you can do when a slip does occur, is to apologize and then pledge to move on in a more productive manner with the very clear intention of bringing as much peace to your children as you can.