When you’re going through a divorce and have children who still live at home, you and your ex need to ensure that you’re protecting their rights. Many people assume that kids will just magically handle the changes that come with their parents splitting up. The truth is that this change is a tremendous stress for them, so you have to help them along the way.
One of the most important things you can do is reassure the children that you still want them to have a relationship with your ex. They might assume that they have to choose between parents. This isn’t fair to them, so take the time to discuss with them how much you value the relationship they have with their other parent.
They may be concerned about how things with their extended family members might change. They may need reassurance for this, too. Make it a point to let them know that they will still get to see their grandparents, cousins and others who are close to them.
As you and your ex work out the specifics of the child custody arrangement, make sure that you communicate directly with each other. Don’t try to have the kids relay messages back and forth. In fact, the kids shouldn’t ever be used as messengers because it isn’t fair for them to have this responsibility. Plus, there is a chance that messages might be misconstrued in the process.
The parenting plan is the document that outlines exactly what’s allowed and forbidden in the child custody arrangement. Make sure that this is clear and concise. Set it up so it meets the kids’ needs right now because you can modify it later as their needs change.