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Pay attention to the kids during divorce

Parents in New Orleans--like parents elsewhere--often struggle with the determinations that come with divorce, particularly child custody. This is an important part of the divorce for obvious reasons, but largely because it dictates whom the child will be spending the majority of her or his time with. While most divorcing parents worry about the possibility that they will receive the short-end of the custody stick, there is also the possibility that joint custody will be awarded. In a joint custody situation, former partners must be much more agreeable to make sure that the best interests of the child are fulfilled.

Even with the relief that joint custody may--or may not--bring, there is the issue of how divorce can affect an involved child. Many experts agree that the consequences of dissolving a marriage between parents can have a major influence on the child caught in the middle. This is because the foundation that they have known is being shaken, causing them to doubt many things. In addition, most children trust their parents wholly and completely, thus making it hard to hear when the mother did this or the dad did that.

This is why it is often suggested that you talk to your children about the situation without sharing the heavy details. This can help them understand that you and your partner--the child's other parent--are no longer getting along and that divorce is either imminent or already occurring. You should explain to them the changes that this will create so they can be prepared.

During all of this, be sure to tell them that you love them and give them the opportunity to be with your soon-to-be ex-spouse too, even if you loathe him or her for filing the divorce or getting involved in an extramarital affair. It can be hard to keep your head screwed on straight during a divorce. Attorneys are often part of the process due to their ability to keep themselves focused on getting the divorce finalized without any emotional involvement.

Source:  The Southern Illinoisan, "Diary of a child of divorce" Stephanie Duckworth, May. 14, 2013

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