A California divorce takes a minimum of six months. More often than not, the divorce process takes many months or years longer. There can be a number of reasons for this, but often the reason is due to conflict. The conflict that caused the marriage to break up continues during the divorce process making it difficult to communicate and agree on important matters such as custody, visitation, division of property, and so on. Even when there is minimal conflict, people tend to postpone discussions and decisions because it is unpleasant and difficult.
If you are a parent who is involved in a drawn out divorce, it is important to consider the possible negative effects of a prolonged divorce process on the children. A prolonged divorce can cause children to feel confused, insecure, and conflicted. According to the American Psychological Association, “ongoing parental conflict increases kids’ risk of psychological and social problems.”
Here are a few ways you can help your children through the difficult prolonged divorce process.
- Give them age-appropriate information to help them know what is happening and what to expect. Provide realistic expectations as much as possible. If you can only predict the next couple of weeks, share what those couple of weeks will look like.
- Share the end result to help alleviate their fears/confusion. Assure them that this divorce process will pass. Tell them what you know will be true once the divorce is final. Stick with general truths that will comfort them rather than specifics that may turn out differently than you expect. For example, you may be able to tell them that they will still be going to the same school but you don’t know if they’ll be living full time with you.
- Provide as much stability as possible—eating dinner together, attending the same church, doing the same chores, etc. Assure them that both parents love them and that the divorce is not about them or caused by them.
- Let them know that it is okay to love both parents. Allow them to enjoy themselves with the other parent (they don’t have to choose sides!). Research suggests that kids do better when they are close to both parents.
- Choose your battles. Decide what is most important in the big picture—i.e., the children’s security, mental and physical health, relationship with both parents, etc.—and work on settling those issues with the other parent. Determine whether an issue is truly non-negotiable or whether it is a strong preference. Consider whether the issue would be a slamdunk in court or could go either way. Then work on settling the issues so your new lives can begin and the children can adjust to the new normal.
Shoreline Legal Group-We Focus On Resolution, Not Conflict
The attorneys at Shoreline Legal Group, LLP are interested in resolving your family law conflict, not extending it. Our goal is to simplify the legal process by providing legal assistance in a step-by-step process. This unique approach allows us to charge an affordable flat rate fee for each step in the process. Call us today to see how we can assist you.