An increasing number of couples are making the difficult decision to end their marriage, but many are not sure what to expect with child custody and divorce. The dissolution of a marriage is typically a highly stressful and emotional process that can become even more so when it involves children and custody issues. For this reason, it is critical for the parties involved to understand what to anticipate so they can adequately meet those demands.
When it comes to what to expect with child custody and divorce, parents should give careful consideration not only to the legal side of things, but also to the emotional component for both themselves and their children. Much of this can be learned from a co-parenting class that many courts mandate divorcing parents complete.
What to Expect with Child Custody and Divorce
The effects of divorce can be different for parents and their children. Two spouses that have decided to pursue divorce need to consider the effects before taking action.
- Parents: From the parents’ point of view, there are two primary categories of relationship stressors, the other spouse and the children. An individual may struggle with how to interact with their soon-to-be-ex without also hurting the child who love them. The stress and emotions involved in planning the future can make it a difficult situation to navigate.
- Children: This can be a particularly confusing and turbulent time for children. Many children feel that upon the announcement of their parents’ divorce that their world is being turned upside down and they have no control over the situation. Some children can internalize the event to a degree that they begin to believe they somehow are responsible for the divorce. How a child handles a life-changing situation like this and is loved through it can determine how they process difficult events and changes in the future.
The good news is that if a couple decides divorce is truly the best option, there are resources in the form of co-parenting classes that are designed to help parents and their children process a divorce in a healthier way, and know what to expect with child custody and divorce.
Online Co-Parenting Class for Divorcing Parents as a Resource
While most courts mandate that a divorcing couple take a co-parenting class to help their family process that reality, it is wise to participate even if the parents are not required to do so.
Classes are usually offered in both in-person and online formats so that parents can choose the option that fits best with their family’s busy schedule. Increasingly, parents are turning to online co-parenting classes for divorce due to the added convenience. Whichever class format parents choose, it must be approved by the court to ensure it adequately meets the state and county curriculum requirements for parent education.
An approved and reputable online co-parenting class for divorce should cover topics such as:
- Cultural implications of divorce. Divorce is becoming increasingly common with what some estimate is one out of every two American marriages eventually ending in divorce. The commonality of it does not change its impact on the adults and children experiencing the emotions and heartache that can come with it. The class should cover some of the main cultural implications and ramifications of divorce on the family as a starting point.
- Providing unconditional love to children. Unconditional love from parents can be the primary contributor to a child’s self-esteem during this difficult time. Those children who experience this type of love are generally less depressed and unhappy amidst a divorce. This parenting course will help parents learn how to use key strategies to show their children unconditional love and instill in them a higher level of self-esteem.
- The effects of divorce on children. If unchecked, the impacts of divorce can negatively impact children in serious ways. As a child learns to deal with their parents’ divorce, it also sets the stage on how they will process and react to future difficulties in life. A good parenting class should address the problems children face in a divorce and how parents can help them overcome these issues in the present, which will also affect their emotional outlook for the future.
- Parenting skills for minimizing negative effects of divorce on children. At a time when parents are overcome by the changing responsibilities a divorce can bring, this type of course is geared toward providing important reminders and strategies for parents to communicate with their ex-spouse, keep from making a child “choose sides,” actively listen to their children, and provide structure for their children.
5 Things Divorcing Parents Can Do for Their Family Right Now
Even if you are considering a divorce and are not yet signed up for an online co-parenting class, here are four things you can do for your family right now to help ease the pain and uncertainty:
- Listen to your children. This means letting them tell you exactly how they are feeling, the good and the bad. If there is a communication barrier here due to hard feelings, consider connecting your child with a licensed therapist.
- Make sure your child knows the divorce is not their fault. Many children think they are in some way responsible for their parents’ Assure them that they have done nothing to cause the divorce and that they are still loved dearly by you and your ex-spouse.
- Give your child structure. Staying in a routine has a unique way of making children feel safe and secure. Do your best to maintain a normal schedule for your child as that may help minimize their uncertainty about the situation.
- Work with your spouse for the common good. You may or may not be amicable with your soon to be ex-spouse, but it is critical to keep the lines of productive communication open. Go straight to your ex if you have a question rather than asking your child for that information. Also ensure that you are on the same page when it comes to establishing rules and boundaries for your children.
- Make a pact between you and your soon to be ex-spouse. This pact should be an agreement that you will never criticize one another in the presence of your children. It’s not fair to your kids. They have enough to deal with regarding the impact of the divorce on their lives without being implicitly encouraged to choose sides.
When it comes to what to expect with child custody and divorce, the road can be long and filled with uncertainty. Give your family the gift of more peace and a healthier way to emotionally heal from a divorce by completing a co-parenting class for divorcing parents today.
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