Divorce can be very difficult on children. Even if the divorce is best for everyone, children can still be sad that their parents no longer live together and fearful about what will happen to their relationship with each parent. They might struggle with anxiety, guilt and confusion, as well.
As parents, you can do a number of things to make situations related to divorce and child custody easier on your children.
Opt for mediation
Resolving matters related to divorce and child custody through mediation can shield children from the painful process of litigation. Mediating these issues allows parents to work together rather than face off in court, which sets a positive example for children. It can also make the legal process less expensive and faster, which can help everyone feel less anxious.
Consider shared custody
In most cases, it will be best for children to have frequent, continued contact with each parent. This can be difficult for parents to recognize when they are mad at each other or don’t trust each other, but remember that you are divorcing a spouse; your children are not divorcing their parent. Unless sharing custody is not in a child’s best interests, parents would be wise to consider this arrangement.
Don’t put your kids in the middle
While Ohio courts do allow a child’s preference to influence allocation of parental responsibilities and rights, putting a child in the position to choose between parents can be quite painful for the child. It can also be upsetting for your child to use him or her as a messenger between parents or to speak badly about the other parent to the child. As such, parents would be wise to avoid putting a child in the middle.
Even if you can’t eliminate all the challenges of this difficult situation, you can take these steps to reinforce a positive relationship with your children and ensure they feel safe and loved throughout the divorce process. In the end, this can be more valuable than anything else.