When I got divorced, my husband and I both had time to process the breakdown of our relationship mentally and emotionally. It still hurt, but we had been coming to terms with it for quite some time. Our child didn’t walk that same journey, so when it came time to inform him about the impending divorce it was a devastating blow. He had questions about child custody and parenting time.
Here’s How I Prepared My Child When I Got Divorced
Breaking Up Together
It might be one of the most difficult conversations you will have, but you must do it right. You should sit your child/ren down together and explain the situation with both parents present. It doesn’t matter if the decision was mutual or not, it must be presented as such to avoid putting your child in a position to choose. Talking to your child/ren about divorce isn’t about parenting time or parenting arrangements. It isn’t the time for bitterness or accusations. It’s about the emotional wellbeing of your child/ren. If you have kids of all ages, then you should have everyone together for the initial announcement and individual conversations with each of them after. If you’re dealing with a variety of ages, then you will want to address their questions one-on-one.
You should have a plan for what you’re going to say when you sit down together. It’s important to remind your children that they are very much loved by both of their parents and that even though you and your soon-to-be-ex are having problems it will never impact on your love for them.
Our son is naturally inquisitive, he asks loads of questions about everything. So, we prepared for a lot of questions. That was the right thing to do, however, we didn’t prepare fully for his actual reaction. You see, we didn’t expect him to cry but he did. We didn’t expect him to immediately ask whom he would live with or whether he would have to change schools, but he did. We hadn’t anticipated that he would storm off into his room, slamming the door behind him. He did.
We allowed him the time and space to process the information and his emotions and then fielded the rest of his questions when he was ready. Questions like where will we live and who will I live with are quite common? They want to know if they have to change schools, if they’ll still see their friends, go to camp, play soccer, where the other parent will live, and where holidays will be spent.
When it came to the custody schedule and custody agreements, we didn’t want him to worry about that. That was for us to deal with, we just had to make sure he felt safe and secure no matter which parent he was with. We addressed his questions and showed him a united front.
My ex and I had to attend family mediation because we couldn’t agree to child custody or child support. Through the family relationship centre, we were able to attend family dispute resolution to find custody agreements without having to apply to the court for parenting orders. We agreed on a parenting plan and decided a joint custody arrangement was in the best interests of the child. We did realize that we’d lost sight of our son and what was right for him. We let go of the one-upmanship and embraced the mediation process fully.
The family law courts highlight parental responsibility and how it’s equally shared unless the court removes it from a parent due to family violence or addiction issues. The family law act ensures that parents share parental responsibility because children are better off with two loving parents supporting them.