By: Danielle Murphy, Paralegal
Everyone knows that divorces can become an incredibly emotionally charged situation and can lead to emotional stress, not just for the adults in the situation, but for the children who are caught in the middle.
No parent wants to see their child suffer, yet 50% of children will witness their parent’s divorce in their lifetime. So how can we, as parents make this as painless of a process for them as possible? Below are three ways to protect your child during a divorce.
- Get your kids in therapy.
Most attorneys these days will recommend your child see a therapist during the divorce process, but just in case they have not brought it up—go ahead and get your kids signed up! Not only is seeing a therapist a truly beneficial activity for your child, but most judges will also take this as a sign that you are taking your child’s wellbeing seriously, which will help your case in court.
- Don’t make disparaging remarks about your ex-spouse in front of your kids.
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but as divorce proceedings continue and dividing up your assets becomes more difficult, it can be hard to reign in your frustration with the way your ex and their attorney is handling things. BUT—resist the urge to express your frustration to or in front of your children. Not only can this be emotionally damaging to your child who may now be feeling like they are under pressure to “pick a side”, this will also harm your case in court. When you file a Petition for Divorce, every petition comes with a standard clause that prevents either party from making disparaging remarks about the other. If you violate these terms, your ex may have grounds for sanctions.
- Talk to your attorney about getting an Amicus/Work with your Amicus.
An Amicus attorney is an attorney appointed by the court to protect your child’s interests. Think of them as an attorney specially appointed to advocate for your child. As your child’s representative, an amicus will look over the facts of the case, interview you and your spouse, as well as the child. After this evaluation, the Amicus will make a recommendation for custody of the children based on the child’s best interests. An amicus attorney can also serve as a helpful go-between for parents who may be having trouble negotiating a custody agreement.
All in all, navigating the breakdown of a relationship is hard on everyone involved, but by protecting your child’s health and interests, you can make the process as easy on them, and you, as possible.