Unfortunately, divorce is common anymore. It seems that people are divorcing sooner and sooner. I have known some people who divorced less than 6 months after they married. Some divorces are amicable, but a lot are not. This is especially true when children are involved.
I remember when I was a kid and my parents divorced. I was 7 when they divorced, and my brother was 3. Divorce is hard on kiddos, because we are just stuck there in the middle not knowing what to do or think. When parents fight with each other, the kids get stuck in the middle. This is definitely true of my situation. My mom would use me and my brother as pawns in her arguments with my dad.
This became more of an issue after my mom remarried. My step father wasn’t very nice to me or my brother, and definitely not to my dad. It seemed he would start a fight with my dad every time he came to get us for visitation, and that put my brother and myself in a bad spot. We were expected to always side with my mom and her husband. There were consequences if we didn’t, so we really had no choice.
As a kid, this was heartbreaking. I didn’t know what to do, or how to fix things. When parents fight, they only think of how it effects them, and they don’t realize the harm to the children. If this stuff isn’t addressed, it can really affect future relationships, both with spouses and their own children.
One way to help prevent this, is to stop and think about the children before putting them in the middle of your problems. The kids didn’t ask for this. Don’t make them choose sides. They need to know that they can count on both parents to be there for them, not just using them as pawns. Consider family therapy sessions to help the children with the transition that comes with divorce. Help them keep that normal family feeling, by never fighting in front of them, and always putting their needs before your disagreements with your ex spouse. This is going to go a long way in shaping their future relationships.
Make sure you are giving ample visitation to the other parent. This wasn’t the case for me and my brother. My mom would use visitation as a punishment against my dad. She would have me and my brother packed and ready to go for the weekend, then my dad would never show up. I always thought he didn’t want to see us. I didn’t find out until years later that my mom had already canceled visits that week, and was making it look like dad didn’t want us, just so she could turn us against him. Don’t be like that. Your children need to be able to see both parents, unless there is some issue that would deem it unsafe for them to do so.
Choose your lawyer wisely
When you split with your spouse, choose your divorce lawyer wisely. Choose a lawyer that is going to think of the effects on your children. You don’t want someone that is so focused on ruining your spouse, that they also ruin your relationship with your children. There are so many good lawyers out there, and you can find a great divorce lawyer in Tampa, even, if you are in that area.
Don’t just pick from the Yellow Pages. Get references and check the Better Business Bureau and see if there are any complaints against them. There are a ton of choices out there, so don’t settle for just anyone. Make sure your children are a priority in your divorce.
"Time spent with cats is never wasted." ~ Sigmund Freud