Having a healthy marriage can be a wonderful thing. Unfortunately, marriage is not always the fairy-tale ending many people hope for. As a matter of fact, 40 to 50 percent of couples in the United States choose to end their marriage. These divorces not only affect both spouses but also their children.
If you are in the process of divorcing and have children, dealing with child support, custody agreements, and co-parenting can be challenging. Thankfully, proper planning, patience, and a bit of professional assistance can make the divorce less physically, financially, and emotionally overwhelming. Here are a few tips for navigating the divorce process with children.
Design an Agreement
Designing a co-parenting/custody agreement that works for you, your spouse, and your child should be one of the first steps to take when the separation and divorce process begins. Of course, this can be challenging for some couples, especially if there is emotional distress.
Many couples and legal professionals compare a co-parenting/custody agreement to a business arrangement of sorts, and this is actually the best way to go about handling the divorce with ease.
It is essential that you and your spouse agree on the terms of this agreement to make the process less difficult for your children. The agreement can be designed by your attorney.
In most cases, the agreement will include a set schedule on when and with whom your child will spend their time. Make sure to include which parents will have custody of the children on which holidays since this is a common argument among ex-spouses. How and where the exchanges will take place should also be included in the agreement.
Establish Financial Support
You, your spouse, and your attorney will also need to design a child support plan. There are many ways to establish a child support plan and all options do not include intense battles in front of a judge.
If you and your spouse are in agreement on how to handle the financials related to your divorce, determining support—whether child or alimony support—will be simple. If your spouse does not want to pay support of any kind, even though you feel they are obligated to do so, it is best to hire your own attorney who will work on your behalf to get the support you need for yourself and for your child.
Your attorney will determine who is responsible for paying support based on a few factors. These factors include who initiated the divorce and why, your lifestyle, and how much you and your spouse earn.
It is important that you and your spouse remember child support is not about winning a battle against each other but about providing the funds your child needs to grow, thrive, and live a lifestyle they are accustomed to.
Provide Emotional Support
Even though you and your spouse no longer want to be married, you can still have a relationship. No matter what the situation is, you should put your emotions aside and become a co-parenting team, which will make the divorce and co-parenting process less stressful for you both and your children.
One of the worst mistakes you can make when divorcing is to talk negatively about your ex-spouse in front of your children. This can be difficult if your ex-spouse has been abusive or unfaithful, but you still need to remember they are the parent of your child. Support your ex-spouse even if you feel they do not deserve it.
Also, your children will need emotional support. Your children's lives will change, and this can be emotionally challenging. They may start struggling at school and showing signs of depression or anxiety. Be calm and patient with your child because these feelings are normal. Consider therapy for your child, as well, to help them cope with the divorce.
Learn more about the divorce process from a law firm such as Kelm & Reuter, P.A.
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