Making it Easy on Children

As divorce is becoming an increasingly common occurrence, it is best that people know how to ease the strain of divorce on their children.  Even the best divorces can be highly stressful situations for children, and the worst can leave scars that last a lifetime. 

For the sake of the children, they should be put first in custody disputes.  Attempt to settle them as quickly as possible, so that the children have as stable a world around them as possible.  For this to happen, compromise with the other spouse is probably necessary.  It is best if the parents are able to work out an arrangement for the best of their children, as courts are not designed to do this. 

When a court tries to make a decision in the best interests of a child or children, some factors that are considered include:

  • The wishes of the child, if the child is old enough to make these known
  • The mental and physical health of the parents
  • Religion and/or cultural considerations
  • The need for consistent and continued stable home environmentThe opportunity for interaction and support from members of extended family of either parent
  • Interaction and relationships with other members of household
  • Adjustment to school and community
  • Age and sex of child
  • Parental use of discipline or emotional abuse
  • Evidence of parental drug, alcohol or sex abuse

Other issues may also be raised, with regard to the habits and relationships of parents.

Things To Keep In Mind

Do not use your child as a pawn to get back to your spouse, to gain leverage in the division of your property, or in other financial disputes. Do allow your children to use you as a pawn to receive the "easier" living situation.

Co-operate with your ex-spouse, if at all possible.  While you may be hoping that divorce will rid you of your ex, children mean that you will need to keep dealing with one another, at least as long as they are minors. 

Try not to criticize your ex-spouse, especially in the presence of your children. Children should be allowed to have a good relationship with both parents. Remember, you are divorcing the other parent, the child is not.  Even when their parents are separated and divorced, children benefit from the love and support of both parents.