- Child Custody – Parents can create their own child custody and visitation plan that meets the specific needs of their family. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, both parents have the same rights and duties regarding their children. Visitation and support issues are the most challenging. Our firm can help you reach agreements regarding your parenting plan that will be acceptable to the courts.
- Visitation – Most parenting plans include a provision which allows each parent to spend time with the child. The courts will get involved when the parents cannot agree on a visitation plan, and impose the Standard Possession Order in most cases.
- Child Support – Child support payments are based on a percentage of the payor’s net resources and the number of children. Judges will use a statutory formula for determining support however, other factors may apply, so that determinations can be reached creatively outside of court.
When faced with the daunting task of telling children about a divorce, parents face a myriad of painful emotions including fear, guilt, shame, and anxiety. Children are so impressionable that using the right versus wrong approach can make a world of difference in the short and long term. Here are some important tips to consider before taking the plunge:
Read articles such as this one, purchase children’s books on the topic, consult a therapist, outline your approach and goals, and rehearse before diving into the task. The better prepared you are, the more likely you will effectively communicate with your child.
Create a healing environment
Make sure your child knows that all of their feelings are valid and will be respected. They should understand that sharing thoughts and feelings of all kinds will help them get through the pain, and they must feel comfortable doing so in your presence.
Remember the 5 main points to convey:
According to author Rosalind Sedacca, there are five main messages that your children must hear when you tell them about an impending divorce:
- This is not your fault.
- Mom and Dad will always be your parents.
- This is about change, not about blame.
- Everything will be okay.
- Mom and Dad will always love you.
Ask broad questions
Getting children to open up can be a challenge, so be sure to continue asking questions that encourage sharing and healing.Here are some examples according to divorce coach Laura Campbell:
- How are you feeling about the custody arrangement? Does it work for you?
- Is there anything I can do to make the school year easier and help you achieve good grades?
- How would you like to spend our time together? What can I do to make it more fun?
- I only want the best for you and am here to help make sure you are the happiest, healthiest, and most successful person you can be. What do you need from me?
- Is there anything you would like to share about your friends, boy/girlfriend, school, or activities that will help me understand what you are experiencing?
Give them time to absorb
Remember that this news will most likely come as a shock to your child, so don’t expect them to know exactly how they feel right away. They may not have a lot of questions or feelings to express right off the bat, but in time you may be flooded with their concerns. Be sure to prepare yourself for these unexpected opportunities for healing and take advantage of them by doing your research and knowing the best ways to respond.
Remember your job now is to listen
Creating an environment in which your child feels comfortable sharing their deepest concerns and feelings is critical; achieving this means being first and foremost a good listener.Learn to withhold your judgments, criticisms, comebacks, and disparaging remarks about anything your child says and about your ex-spouse. While it may be difficult and painful at times, you must let your child speak freely and vent. Remember that experiencing a divorce is always heart-wrenching for a child, and helping them heal by listening with an open mind and heart is part of your job as a parent.
Timothy Conlon, Esquire for The Custody Place
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322 West Patrick Street #201 FREDERICK MARYLAND 21701