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Keeping Children Healthy and Happy During a Divorce

 Posted on August 18, 2018 in Divorce

MI family attorneyWhen two adults divorce, you have to make a lot of changes in a relatively short period of time: where you live, who you live with, how you manage your money, who your friends are, and so on. As hard as it is to deal with all of these changes as an adult, imagine how much more difficult it can be for a child who has no control over custody and parenting time decisions.

What can you do to keep your children healthy and happy despite the divorce? Here is some simple advice compiled by the Oakland County Friend of the Court agency with input from professionals who have helped hundreds of divorcing families.

1. Stick to a routine.

Make “predictability” a top priority. Stick to pre-divorce routines for mealtimes, bedtimes, chores, etc. wherever you can. Establish new routines to help the children maintain regular contact with both parents, as well as their friends and other relatives.

Transferring back and forth between Mom’s house and Dad’s house can be one of the toughest things for children to adapt to. Build specific routines to make these transfers more predictable. For example, designate a specific place in each parent’s new home for belongings that the children need to take back and forth. Purchase specific backpacks or other luggage to be used exclusively for that purpose. Add a predictable element to each coming or going, such as a hug, kiss, or special phrase.

2. Help the children build a good relationship with both parents.

Here are a few simple things you can do to reinforce your child’s relationship with both you and your ex:

  • Keep family photos available, including photos of your ex;
  • Say good things about your ex to your children. Show them it’s okay for them to express their love for their other parent and talk about them with you;
  • Help the child buy cards and gifts for the other parent; and
  • If a child complains about the other parent to you, encourage the child to talk to the other parent about it. Do not take sides.

3. Create an open channel of communication between parents.

Juggling a family schedule is hard enough in one house, much less two. A shared online family calendar can be a helpful tool. Make sure you get all important dates and appointments in writing, such as vacations, doctor appointments, and after-school activities.

Most medical offices and schools now have e-records systems that make it easy for both parents view the children’s records at any time.

Many children going through change at home will start to have trouble at school. Keep the other parent informed about parent-teacher conferences, report cards, and other school happenings so that they can help keep children on-track academically.

Remember that one parent cannot dictate “house rules” for the other parent’s home. However, you should each know what the other’s house rules are, and what the consequences of disobedience are; these could even be written up in a shared online document. Children can easily understand differences in rules between houses, just as there are differences in rules between home and school. However, going back to the point about predictability, children will do better when the rules are clearly spelled out and discipline is consistent within a given house.

Advice from an Oakland County Family Law and Divorce Lawyer

We know that parents want the best for their children and that divorce can be really hard on a child. Choose a Novi family law and divorce attorney who understands. At Elkouri Heath PLC, we employ collaborative techniques to help you make divorce settlement, co-parenting, and child support decisions that will work for your entire family. Call 248-344-9700 for a free consultation






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