Divorce in Arizona is one of the most traumatic events a child can experience and it is incumbent upon parents to prepare their children for the process. Preparing the child and maintaining open communication can help ease the shock and help children manage their stress through the transition. To that end, the following are effective strategies for preparing and protecting children during the divorce process.
1. Minimize Conflict. Children should never witness or become involved in any conflicts between parents. Any discussion of legal matters, property disputes, etc. should take place when the child is not present. Further, children should not be used as messengers between parents or other family members.
2. Hire a Therapist. Family counseling is invaluable for helping children process their thoughts and emotions about the divorce. Sitting down with a family therapist helps children express their feelings in a safe environment. This helps protect their mental health and can help parents develop strategies to help their child cope with the divorce.
3. Develop a Strong Support Network. Children need significant support during and after the divorce. This can come from family members, friends, teachers, and others whom the child has regular interactions. Developing a strong network for the children gives them multiple outlets to go to for advice, assistance, and an ear to listen when needed.
4. Curb Negative Behaviors. Children may respond to the divorce by engaging in anti-social and potentially dangerous behaviors. While it is normal for children to withdraw emotionally at first, long-term withdrawal can lead to depression, drug addiction, violence, and suicidal acts. You should monitor your child for these behaviors and take prompt action when they emerge. These actions could include therapy, amending the child custody arrangement, etc.
5. Keep Communication Open. Children will have lots of questions about the divorce. Among these they will wonder who they will live with, where they will go to school, whether they are moving, and how the divorce will impact holiday plans. Parents should be honest and open with their responses to the child’s questions and concerns. Children will look for concrete answers to guide them and will depend on their parents to provide them with reliable information they can depend on.
6. Keep an Eye on Health. Divorce is stressful for everyone and will impact the health of everyone in the family. It has a particularly detrimental impact on a child’s health. Thus, in addition to managing the mental health of the child, it is equally important to monitor their physical health. A healthy diet, regular exercise, and prompt attention to medical and dental needs helps children through the transition.
7. Develop a Routine. The importance of routine during a divorce in Arizona can’t be understated. Routine gives the child structure they can depend on. This routine can involve simple things such as the time they go to school, the time you return from work, regular counseling visits, etc. Further, keeping children active in sports, band, 4-H, Scouts, and other activities gives them outlets for their emotions and helps them shift their focus away from the divorce.
We encourage you to contact Simon Law Group, PLLC at (480) 745-2450 for more information about preparing children for divorce in Arizona. During your free consultation, Craig Simon can help you understand the divorce process in Arizona including legal decision making, physical custody/visitation rights, child support obligations, and other aspects of the process.