Divorce Proceedings: 6 Legal Tips for Parents

Going through a divorce with children involved can get messy and complicated really quickly. If you are having a hard time with your divorce and how to maintain a good relationship with your children as they adjust to their new reality.

Read through these six legal tips to help you get through divorce proceedings as an individual and as a parent.

Consider Your Children’s Needs Above All Else

Although a divorce is, on paper, between two people, when those two people have children, it all gets more complicated. If you are getting a divorce, it likely means that you have not lived in a happy household for a while now, and your children know it. For some children, a divorce is a relief because it means there will be less fighting in their lives, but it is still a huge life-changing event for all involved.

divorce proceedings

It is important to always consider your children’s needs first before your own, even if you are having a hard time as well. As legal proceedings begin, make sure that your children feel safe and are not made to take sides. Specialized lawyers who are used to working with children of divorce can help you navigate conversations around the legal proceedings so that they understand what is going on but are kept away from arguments. It is a good idea to have certain legal meetings without your children present because many times these meetings turn into fights, which your children have likely already seen enough of.

Hire a Lawyer

By hiring a lawyer, you will be taking a lot of the stress of the divorce off of your shoulders so that you can focus more on helping your kids adjust to this new way of life. There are a lot of divorce attorneys in Lake County who understand the sensitivity needed in a divorce case that has children involved. They can help you and your soon-to-be former spouse navigate the legal waters so that there can be more focus on the children.

A family law attorney or divorce lawyer will have specific knowledge about custody, child support, and everything else that comes with a divorce with children involved. It will likely end up that you and your ex will each have your own lawyer to represent you. Your lawyer should be there as a source of support and to help advocate for you in court as well as help you understand your rights and responsibilities as a parent.

Ask For Help From Family Members

Going through a divorce is a very fraught and tumultuous experience, especially if there is a lot of fighting happening in the household. Do not be afraid to ask parents, siblings, or other close relatives if they can help take care of your children as you have legal meetings and complicated conversations. There are many parts of a divorce that children should not have to be involved in, so keeping them out of the messy parts will be better for everyone in the long run.

divorce proceedings

Having your family on your side during these hard times can also act as a form of support, especially if you have to go to court to fight for custody. Ask family members to attend court proceedings to stand as witnesses to your character. Having a group of family members in court with you will give you more confidence and show your children that they still have a strong support system in their lives, despite the divorce.

Communicate Openly

Divorce is a confusing concept for children, especially since all they have ever known is that their parents have been together. As the divorce proceedings are set into motion, it is good to sit your children down and communicate openly with them about what is going to happen. You can do this together with or separately from your ex, but the initial conversation should be with everyone together.

To prepare for these kinds of conversations, you should plan what you are going to say beforehand so that emotions do not take over. It is good to show vulnerability with your kids, but sometimes it can be traumatizing for children to see their parents tearing up, so having a plan of action will help you regulate your emotions. It is also important to say from the beginning that the divorce is not their fault. Many children blame themselves when their parents get divorced, so repeatedly enforcing that it is not their fault will help them move easily through the divorce adjustment.

There should be constant communication throughout the process as well. Telling your kids you are getting a divorce and then never bringing it up again is not a good game plan. They will likely have a lot of questions throughout the divorce proceedings, especially when lawyers get involved, so letting them know that they can ask you anything will help ease their minds.

Work with a Mediator

A mediator is a third party that can come in and help you and your ex-spouse come to certain agreements about childcare and visitations. If you are experiencing a hard time bringing up certain topics about your children with your ex-spouse, this is the best way to resolve issues and come to an agreement. This mediator can be one of your lawyers or another legal official who works with divorce cases a lot. Mediators can also be great to have in the room while children are present so that they can keep everyone in check as emotions get heightened.

Understand Your Rights

As a parent, you have certain rights in a divorce to see your children and continue to parent them. It is important as this process begins that you study up on local custody laws and have conversations with your divorce attorney about your rights. Knowing your rights will help you to make a case for yourself in the unfortunate circumstance that you may have to fight for split custody of your children. Take some time to focus on yourself and your needs so that you can be the best parent you can be for your children during your divorce proceedings. 

Although divorce is a relatively common occurrence in modern society, it is still very complicated, especially when children are involved. As a parent going through a divorce, remember that you can turn to your lawyer for advice and help and do your best to let your children know that this is just a transitional period and you will still always be in their lives.

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