For all adults, getting a divorce can be a stressful and emotional experience. But when the divorcing couple has a child or children, things can become even more difficult for everyone involved. While there are sure to be certain issues during a divorce that you and your spouse do not agree on – ranging from child custody to alimony payments to how to divide property – one of the worst things that you can do is to put your child in the middle of your divorce disputes. A Raleigh divorce attorney can help you to come to a fair divorce settlement. In the meantime, though, make sure to employ these tips to avoid putting your child in the middle of your divorce.
1. Avoid Badmouthing the Other Parent
We get it – you are frustrated, fed up, and angry. However, whatever feelings you are experiencing toward your soon-to-be-ex-spouse, expressing those emotions in front of your child is inappropriate, and can leave a child feeling confused, torn, and upset. If you need an outlet, your child is not the appropriate go-to person. Instead, seek the guidance or support of a friend, mentor, family member, or mental health professional. Do not let your child be your caretaker.
2. Resist the Urge to Block Visitations or Phone Calls
During a divorce, with whom a child will live both during the divorce proceeding and at the conclusion of the divorce is a very contentious issue. And while you may be very upset, angry, or do not think that your spouse is fit to care for your child, do not prevent your child from speaking with or seeing his or her other parents unless doing so puts your child in imminent harm. When you attempt to block visitations or phone calls, this can make your child very upset.
3. Avoid the Guilt Game
Your child loves you. But he or she also loves his or her other parent, too. This is a normal, healthy, and positive thing. When you are upset with your spouse or ex-spouse, seeing your child enjoy spending time with that person can be even more distressing. While you may be tempted to show these feelings to your child, do not. Doing so can make your child feel guilty, confused, and as if they have done something wrong by loving and enjoying both of you.
4. Do Seek Emotional Support for Your Child
A divorce can be emotionally and psychologically challenging for a child. A child may not always understand why parents no longer wish to live together or remain married. In turn, this can create deep feelings of sadness and anger, which can result in the child lashing out or acting depressed. If your child is struggling with a divorce, or if you have already put your child in the middle of your divorce in some way, you should seek professional mental health and emotional support for your child. In addition to seeking professional help for your child, you can also rectifying the situation by explaining to your child that it is okay to love both you and the child’s other parent.
5. Do Not Ask Your Child to Keep Secrets or Spy for You
Maybe you are seeing someone else. Maybe you want to know if your spouse is seeing someone else. Whatever your secret or the secret that you want to discover, do not make your child be your secret keeper or spy. Furthermore, your child should not have to act as your messenger – do not send verbal or written messages with your child to the other parent’s house and expect your child to communicate them for you. All of these actions can make your child uncomfortable and anxious.
6. Always Fight Privately
During a divorce in North Carolina, it is not unlikely that you and your spouse will have a few fights. While some of these fights may feel unavoidable, do know that you have the power to step away from a fight, and only express your opinion when the timing and location is appropriate. It is never appropriate to have a fight in front of your child, or in a location where the fight may get back to your child (like your child’s school’s parking lot). If there is something that you need to get off your chest, be adult about it and do it privately.
7. Do Not Make a Child Choose Between You and Your Spouse
One thing that you should never do is to make your child choose between you and your spouse. This includes making your child choose whom he or she loves more, with whom your child wants to spend the weekends or holidays, or with whom your child wants to live permanently. Again, your child loves both of you, and making him or her choose between you and your spouse can be emotionally exhausting for child.
8. Do Not Discuss Money With Your Child
This is a good general rule of parenting regardless, but in terms of divorce, you should never discuss money with your child as it relates to your child’s other parent. For example, do not tell your child that you wish you could afford something, but cannot because a child support or alimony payment is too little or has not been paid. A child should never worry about money, and discussing money as it related to your spouse or ex-spouse can make your child feel as though he or she is supposed to choose sides.
9. Do Seek the Counsel of an Experienced Raleigh Divorce Attorney
When a child is struggling with divorce, or if you are getting a divorced and have children, the sooner you consult with divorce lawyers in Wake County who can help you to resolve the most contentious issues of your divorce, the better. At Charles R. Ullman & Associates, PLLC, our skilled Raleigh divorce attorneys have you and your family’s best interests at heart. To learn more about children and divorce, divorce in NC, and how to avoid putting your child in the middle, start by scheduling a consultation. If you are in the middle of a divorce, contact our experienced Raleigh divorce attorney today at 866-300-5256.