Keeping your kids out of harm's way in divorce

On behalf of Jeffrey N. Greenblatt of Joseph, Greenwald & Laake, PA posted in Child Custody on Friday, December 6, 2013.

Many people in Maryland have heard about the negative consequences that a divorce can have on children. This is a legitimate concern, but it's more about how the parents handle their divorce that will influence and impact their children. In a marriage that simply isn't working, staying and trying to "fix" the situation may well end up being more traumatic for the child than a well-handled divorce. Parents shouldn't avoid a divorce because of concerns about the children, they just need to be aware of the situation.

Parents should always consider the best interests of the child throughout the process, and keep them from being exposed to the negativity that can sometimes accompany a contentious divorce. There are several things parents can do to lessen the impact of dissolution on a child. These include not fighting in front of the child, and making sure not to badmouth the child's other parent or family members. Children can be stressed out enough by all the changes they are going through in their lives, and hearing bad things about a person they care about will just make that stress worse. Also, children shouldn't be used as messengers between parents, and pressing a child for inside information about their lives with the other parent could also have negative effects on the child, who may feel trapped between a rock and a hard place.

It's also important that children know what is happening, and that they know that they are not to blame in the situation. Children of parents in a custody dispute may feel that they are the cause of their parents' negativity towards each other, and parents should frequently remind them that this is not the case. Letting a child know that you will love them no matter what will go a long way, and can't be said enough.

People considering a divorce should consult with an experienced family law attorney about other ways to reduce the emotional burden on a child while still accomplishing their legal objective.

Source: Huffington Post "5 Ways to Protect Children During Divorce," Deborah Anderson Bialis, Nov. 25, 2013