Tips for minimizing the stress children feel during and after divorce

Divorcing parents can reduce stress for their children by co-parenting, maintaining consistency and avoiding needless conflict whenever possible.

For many parents who are getting divorced in Fort Collins, causing minimal distress to their children during and after the separation is a top priority. Divorce can be challenging and stressful for everyone involved, even when it is handled smoothly and maturely. Fortunately, parents can generally make this trying experience less difficult for their children by taking the following steps.

Keep kids out of conflict

Creating unnecessary conflict is one of the top mistakes to avoid when divorcing with kids. Fox News recommends that parents avoid fighting in front of their kids or pulling their children into their disagreements. Each parent should refrain from speaking negatively about the other parent to the kids. Additionally, parents should never demand that their children take sides or get involved in any disagreements.

People who are separating from high-conflict spouses may need to take different steps to reduce conflict and associated stress. The Huffington Post states that minimizing face-to-face contact is one way to prevent fights with a high-conflict person. Parents in high-conflict relationships should also recognize that parallel parenting, rather than co-parenting, may be the most feasible solution.

Create consistency

The upheaval that divorce creates can be especially challenging for children. As a result, kids typically benefit from predictable routines after divorce, according to Fox News. If possible, people who are co-parenting should work together to establish uniform rules and schedules that apply at each household. Similarly, parents should try to make decisions together and present a united front. This can help reduce the stress or confusion that children feel when splitting time living with both parents.

Parents should also avoid making unnecessary changes within each household. Parents should carefully weigh the benefits of large changes, such as relocation, against the potential negative effects. Parents also may want to consider delaying seemingly small changes to daily routines or family pastimes to make the transition easier for their children.

Consider shared custody

Sharing legal and physical custody may not be a feasible option in every divorce. Practical factors, such as scheduling and location, may prevent this arrangement from succeeding. Joint custody also may not be advisable when parents cannot work together amicably. However, in cases when sharing both legal and physical custody is feasible, it may offer benefits for children.

A recent study, which involved nearly 150,000 children, found that kids who lived with one parent post-divorce felt more stress than kids who lived with both parents. According to Time magazine, children who lived with both parents were less likely to develop stress-related ailments, such as headaches, depression and insomnia. Due to this finding, the researchers believe the benefits of maintaining close connections with both parents may generally outweigh any drawbacks of shared parenting.

Plan properly

Identifying the optimal custody and visitation arrangement is essential for parents who want to make divorce more tolerable for their children. In Colorado, parents have the right to work together to create parenting plans, which can establish decision-making authority, visitation arrangements and more. A customized plan, which can take family circumstances and preferences into account, may offer greater benefits than a court-ordered one.

To identify the most fitting arrangement, parents who are preparing to divorce should consider consulting with a family law attorney. An attorney may be able to advise a parent on the available options and help identify the one that offers the right fit for the family.