Ideally, you will keep your children as far away from your divorce as possible. However, if the case goes to trial, it may be impossible to shield them from all of what may transpire in court. Therefore, it is a good idea to prepare them for what to expect and what to do if they feel anxious or scared.
How Old Are the Children?
If your children are closer to their teenage years than their toddler years, it may be possible to be more direct in what you tell them. For example, you could simply tell them to be honest while testifying, that you love them and that they shouldn’t necessarily believe everything that they see or hear. If you have younger children, emphasize the fact that the divorce isn’t their fault and that no one is mad at them.
Focus on Their Needs
A child will need the love, support and guidance of their parents more than ever during a divorce. Therefore, it is critical that you focus on their needs even as you try to prepare for an upcoming court date. As children tend to do better when they have a sense of routine, it could be a good idea to make each day as similar as possible. For instance, you could pick them up from school each day or have dinner at the same time each night.
Explain the Process in Detail Whenever Possible
If your son or daughter is asked to testify during a trial, take time to explain what that means. It could be a good idea to have your attorney or the judge provide further details as to what will happen, when it will happen and why. Many law firm services and firms will have resources for children to help them through a divorce proceeding.
Encourage a Relationship with the Other Parent
Your child needs to know that both parents will be in their lives for many years to come. Therefore, it is important that you encourage your child to have a relationship with the other parent assuming that it’s safe to do so. Taking this step may also help you obtain a favorable outcome in the matter.
It is generally better for everyone when a divorce is settled through mediation as opposed to litigation. However, if this is not possible, be sure that you don’t neglect the needs of your children as the legal process plays out. Doing so could cause significant emotional harm that could be hard to overcome.