Skillern Firm

(713) 229-8855

Skillern Firm
Home $ Shielding Your Kids: How to Protect Your Children in a Contested Divorce

Shielding Your Kids: How to Protect Your Children in a Contested Divorce

Wooden cut out of a family with a broken heart.

Wondering how to protect your children in a contested divorce? You’re likely grappling with a whirlwind of emotions, from concern to confusion, as you navigate the choppy waters of divorce. It’s crucial to shield your children from the conflict and to find legal solutions that help maintain their feeling of safety and routine, as well as protect their mental and physical health. Custody battles are difficult on children and families but Skillern Firm is dedicated to guiding you through this challenging time.

Prioritize your children’s well-being with Skillern Firm. Contact us at 713-229-8855 for guidance in safeguarding their future during this challenging period.

Understanding the Impact of a Contested Divorce on Children

Contested divorces can have a significant impact on children’s mental health and well-being. The pain of seeing their parents separate can lead to various adjustment problems, both short- and long-term, including:

  • Academic difficulties
  • Disruptive behaviors
  • Depressed mood
  • Risky sexual behavior
  • Living in poverty
  • Family instability

Divorce can also result in chronic stress, fear, anxiety, depression, and other psychological issues in children.

The impact of divorce on children is not uniform. Factors such as the quality of parenting received, the level of interparental conflict, economic struggles, and the amount of contact with the non-custodial parent all play a significant role. Parental conflict directly increases the risk of mental health problems for children, including anxiety and fear of abandonment, regardless of the strength of the parent-child relationship. Therefore, gaining insight into these impacts is vital for providing the necessary support to your children.

Identifying Signs of Distress in Your Child

Recognizing signs of distress in your child is the first step in providing the support they need. Children struggling to cope with their parents’ divorce may exhibit several signs. For instance, they may feel sad and cry more than usual. They might also show an increase in worrying and feeling scared, such as fear of going to bed or separation anxiety.

In some cases, older children might exhibit the following signs of distress:

  • Withdrawing from friends
  • Losing interest in activities they used to enjoy
  • Becoming oppositional and arguing
  • Acting up and having difficulty managing their behavior
  • Experiencing declining school performance, such as trouble paying attention in class and falling behind academically

As parents, vigilance and appropriate responses to these signs are essential in fulfilling parental responsibilities.

Creating a Supportive Environment for Your Children

During a contested divorce, it is of utmost importance to create a supportive environment for your children’s well-being. The aim is to provide them with a sense of security, predictability, and love. This can be achieved by maintaining consistency in their routines and fostering open communication about the divorce process.

Some protective factors that foster resilience in children amid the changes of divorce include:

  • Warmth and nurturance from parents
  • Effective discipline and limit-setting
  • Maintaining the child’s connections with the ex-partner’s family
  • Ensuring parental unity on matters of activities and discipline

These factors can support the child’s overall stability in the immediate sense and for years to come.

Maintaining Consistency and Routine

During a contested divorce, it is paramount to maintain stability for your children. One way to achieve this is by adhering to a detailed parenting schedule and maintaining consistent routines in both households. Following the parenting schedule closely minimizes disruptions to children’s lives, providing them with a sense of security during the tumultuous time of a contested divorce.

Maintaining consistency in parenting across separate households, in terms of children’s activities and discipline, fortifies stability for children. Implementing stable routines for daily tasks such as homework, meals, and bedtime within each parent’s home strengthens the children’s overall well-being.

Establishing Open Communication

During a divorce, maintaining open and honest communication with your children is essential. It helps them feel safe and supported. Encouraging your children to share their thoughts and feelings about the divorce, regardless of whether they are positive or negative, validates their emotions.

Answering your children’s questions honestly and addressing their concerns about the divorce and the future maintains an open line of communication. Consistent explanations from both parents are important as they provide a unified front and help children adapt and adjust. By becoming more aware of their own emotions, parents can better support their children and prevent their own feelings from interfering with the child’s expression of emotions.

Focusing on Your Child’s Best Interests

Throughout the challenging journey of a contested divorce, it is crucial to prioritize your child’s best interests. This principle is the guiding factor in custody decisions: prioritizing the child’s safety, stability, and overall well-being. As children mature, their wishes are increasingly considered in custody decisions, provided they can express reasoned preferences.

Limiting significant life changes, such as moving or changing schools, can help preserve the child’s consistent routine and environment, ensuring a stable child’s life. The stability and safety of the children’s lives are carefully reviewed by courts when evaluating living arrangements in custody resolution. Parental cooperation and positive communication are critical, with courts expecting both parents to support the child’s welfare and endorse a healthy relationship with each parent.

Collaborating on a Parenting Plan

In collaboration with your ex-spouse, it’s critical to develop a detailed and flexible parenting plan. Collaboration can benefit children by reducing conflict and encouraging both parents to remain active in their lives. Parenting plans should be detailed, outlining:

  • visitation schedules
  • healthcare
  • education
  • extracurricular activities
  • resolution strategies for disagreements

They should also be flexible enough to adapt to changes, with an annual review recommended.

It is important to seek the support of an experienced family law attorney, such as Skillern Firm. We can help draft a parenting schedule tailored to the family’s unique aspects to regain stability sooner. The court expects and encourages parents to collaborate on a parenting plan that meets the child’s needs and fosters parental cooperation and communication.

Seeking Professional Help

During a contested divorce, seeking professional help is a prudent decision. Professional mental health interventions can reduce children’s psychological problems by targeting known mediators of risk such as parenting problems and family conflict. Skillern Firm’s family law attorneys not only provide legal advice but also give emotional guidance to support clients through the challenging emotional times of divorce proceedings.

Professionals such as family law attorneys and counselors play a crucial role in formulating legal custody arrangements that focus on the child’s mental and physical well-being while considering various factors affecting the child’s best interests. A family law attorney can help parents engage in mediation and counseling, supported by methods to resolve conflicts, which often yields better co-parenting outcomes than litigation alone.

Managing Conflict Between Parents

In a contested divorce, managing conflict between parents is a key aspect. To protect children from the negative effects of the divorce, parents should:

  • Avoid exposing children to arguments and negative commentary about each other, and avoid discussing the details of the litigation with them. 
  • Communicate about family matters in a manner that is brief, fact-focused, and collaborative
  • Consider written communication to document exchanges and shield children from negative emotions.

Parents should avoid discussing money and legal issues in front of their children to prevent involving them in adult conflicts. Being discreet about legal matters and discussions with the ex-spouse respects the children’s relationship with both parents, and this discretion is key during a contested divorce.

Keeping Disagreements Private

In managing conflict between parents, it’s essential to keep disagreements private. Parents should avoid exposing children to arguments, high conflict, and negative commentary about each other to prevent emotional and psychological harm. Non-disparagement clauses in child custody orders aim to prevent parents from criticizing each other in a way that the children can be affected.

In addition, Skillern Firm advises against making social media posts during custody disputes as they can impact court decisions and contribute to parental conflicts becoming public. Parents should keep their disagreements private to respect the children’s relationship with both parents.

Practicing Emotional Self-Control

For parents in a contested divorce, practicing emotional self-control is crucial. It helps to avoid involving children in adult conflicts and protect their psychological well-being. To maintain emotional self-control, parents can practice taking deep breaths during conflicts and be mindful of their body’s responses to stress. This promotes rational thinking instead of reactive rage.

Parents should refrain from speaking negatively about one another, using their children as messengers or as spies. This ensures that children are shielded from conflict and preserves their emotional security. Strong parent-child relationships post-divorce are supported by emotional self-control, which facilitates open and effective communication and successful co-parenting with one parent.

Involving Skillern Firm in Your Contested Divorce

Engaging the services of Skillern Firm in your contested divorce can significantly influence the outcome. Skillern Firm offers representation in contested divorces, with cases involving complex asset and child custody issues while adapting to the unique needs of each client. Our firm provides comprehensive legal services during contested divorces, from initial consultations to post-decree matters, ensuring clients receive guidance in decision-making, custody allocation, and all stages of trial preparation.

Skillern Firm’s focus is on helping clients achieve the best possible resolution in their divorce by providing personalized advice tailored to their specific circumstances.

The Legal Challenges

The legal challenges of a contested divorce can be overwhelming, especially when it leads to a court battle. Legal assistance in custody cases is crucial, as experienced attorneys can negotiate agreements, represent clients in court, and navigate custody laws to secure favorable outcomes for the child. Skillern Firm offers negotiation, mediation, and litigation services to handle divorce cases, ensuring comprehensive legal support for complicated issues, including custody battle scenarios and the legal process involved.

The attorneys at Skillern Firm can help clients with paperwork and court dates associated with a custody case. We ensure that common mistakes like creating a vague plan or neglecting to specify guidelines for medical care and travel are avoided when preparing a parenting plan for court. At Skillern Firm, we proudly handle divorce and family law cases near Houston, including those involving significant assets, closely held businesses, and child custody issues.

Providing Personalized Support

At Skillern Firm, we take pride in offering more than just legal guidance—we provide personalized support to our clients. We dedicate time to understanding the uniqueness of each divorce case, fighting for specific client needs. Our family lawyers support clients through every step of the divorce process, aiding in informed decision-making.

We extend consultations to help parents comprehend their legal options and strategies in a child custody case. Our comprehensive approach ensures that you are not alone in this challenging journey and that your child’s interests are always our priority.

Contact Us

Going through a contested divorce is a difficult journey, and protecting your children’s well-being during such times is paramount. Understanding the impacts of such divorces on children, creating a supportive environment, focusing on their wishes, managing conflicts between parents, and seeking professional help are crucial steps. Skillern Firm is here to help you at each step of this journey, offering personalized support, legal guidance, and assistance with custody issues to achieve a positive outcome for your child. Give us a call today at 713-229-8855 because, with the right support, you can ensure your child’s well-being and secure a better future for them.

Frequently Asked Questions

What not to say to kids during divorce?

Avoid saying things that assign blame to the other parent, as this can create an unhealthy environment for your children. They may start internalizing this blame game, which is not only unfair to everyone involved, but also detrimental to their emotional well-being. Instead, keep the conversation neutral and focus on the children’s needs, assuring them that both parents love them and that the divorce is not a result of anything they’ve done. This approach promotes a healthier adjustment to the new family dynamics.

How do you protect yourself and your kids during a divorce?

To protect yourself and your kids during a divorce, it is important to encourage time spent with each parent, avoid using your child as a messenger, manage shared expenses responsibly, and maintain routine. Additionally, it is important to introduce new partners gradually, communicate with your child, and work to end conflict with your co-parent. Prioritizing these steps can help protect both you and your children during this challenging time.

How do I divorce and not hurt my kids?

To minimize the negative impact of divorce on your children, maintain open and honest communication, create a supportive environment, and encourage their expression. Present a co-parenting plan together and keep the lines of communication open to help them understand the changes in the family.

What are the potential impacts of a contested divorce on children?

A contested divorce can negatively impact children’s mental health, leading to academic difficulties, disruptive behaviors, and even a depressed mood, as well as risky sexual behavior and family instability. It’s vital to prioritize the well-being of children in such situations.

Can a child’s preference influence custody decisions?

Yes, a child’s preference can be considered in custody decisions, especially as they get older and can articulate their wishes. Courts often take into account the child’s desires when they are of sufficient age and maturity to express a reasonable preference. However, the child’s preference is not the sole factor; the court will also evaluate other aspects such as each parent’s ability to provide stability and meet the child’s needs.