Divorce is always disruptive, but it is prolonged conflict and tension that hurts children more over the long run.
For example, fighting over various aspects of the situation or attacking each other can tear everyone apart. There are other things that parents do, too, that can compound the problem.
Here are a few tips on how to prevent divorce proceedings from tearing the family apart:
Avoid Parental Alienation
You’ll cause serious problems for your children if you’re constantly speaking negatively about the other parent.
This hurts kids, because they know that they’re equal parts Mom and Dad. If you demonize the other parent, the children may feel bad about the aspects of themselves that are like the other parent.
You’ll also increase conflict when the child reports to the other parent what you’ve said. So, don’t make your child take sides, as that’s unfair to them.
Don’t Confide in Your Child
Don’t turn to your child as a surrogate confidante. It isn’t appropriate to talk about child support, division of property or anything else you’re fighting about with your ex-spouse.
Nor is it appropriate to turn to your child for emotional support. Rely on friends, adult family members or a counselor.
However, you need to discuss the divorce with the child in terms they understand. Inform them of the divorce, but make it clear it isn’t their fault.
Be honest about being upset about the separation, and let the child know it is okay to be sad too. Make it clear that both parents love the child, including the one who may be moving out.
Understand Your Legal Rights
There are two contentious areas in divorce, with one being child custody. The other is the division of property. You may unnecessarily add to your stress if you try to fight for property that isn’t legally yours.
This is why you need to understand things like the difference between marital and non-marital property. Some states call for an equitable distribution of property.
However, this doesn’t mean that you’ll split everything 50-50.
The “equitable” amount will be based on the length of the marriage, the financial situation of both spouses, the contributions to the marital property by each partner, and whether there were prior marriages.
Only marital property will be divided by the ratio the courts decide. Non-marital property belongs to the partner who acquired it, and it isn’t subject to the property division.
Most property acquired during the marriage is considered marital property. However, non-marital property could include property received during the marriage.
For example, if one spouse inherits money from a dead parent while married, that property will remain theirs after the divorce. Property classified as non-marital property in a prenuptial agreement will remain with the original owner, as well.
Real estate ownership can fall into both categories, if the property was bought by one partner before the marriage.
The other spouse may gain partial ownership of the property if they helped pay the mortgage for years. The debts racked up during the marriage will offset the value of the property.
Consult with an attorney and provide all relevant information so they can advise you about your rights and your obligations.
Divorce is a breakup of a marriage, but it does not have to hurt your family. Follow our advice to make the process as peaceful as possible.