If you are in the midst of a separation or divorce, you know that it is really easy to get caught up in the break-up aspect of it all. Whatever led to the end of the relationship is fresh, raw, and real. Nobody is perfect, but a lot of people have trouble making decisions during this tumultuous time period. In fact, sometimes people make unhealthy decisions in order to make themselves feel better, or to make the other spouse feel worse.
When there are children involved, it is important to be very mindful of their experience. Your children are suffering a trauma, one that will have an impact on the rest of their lives no matter how smoothly a divorce goes. Children rely on their parents to help them make sense of the world and to know that everything is going to be okay. When parents separate, the world that they have always known is dramatically changing. It is really important to continuously remind yourself of this.
It makes children’s trauma far worse when parents constantly fight, disparage each other freely, and cause children to feel as if they have to choose sides. Any therapist or psychologist will agree that this is a formative time in their development, and that the way that parents conduct themselves during this time matters a great deal.
Consider a Post-Separation Agreement
The first step to making your children a top priority is for you and your spouse to try treating each other amicably during the separation and divorce process. This isn’t always possible, and means that you should at least establish healthy boundaries with one another. This encompasses the manner and reasons for communicating with each other, and should also include a conscious decision to not disparage the other parent in the children’s presence.
Because couples must wait a year prior to seek an absolute divorce, we recommend that you and your spouse create a separation agreement. This is a legally binding contract that can specifically dictate property, living arrangements, custody and visitation, spousal support, how expenses and debts will be paid, and even the terms of how you and your spouse are to communicate with one another.
Separation agreements are very common, and can create a level of stability and normalcy that you and your children desperately need during this time. In addition, creating an amicable, good faith agreement can go a long way toward showing your children that they will be ok.
Contact New Direction Family Law
A separation agreement can help you create much needed stability and permanence for your children. You need an attorney to help you create a fair, enforceable agreement. New Direction Family Law can help you. We are a family law firm that offers comprehensive legal counsel and representation regarding separations, divorces, and child custody issues. Our attorneys are thoughtful, passionate, and smart. We proudly serve Wake, Johnston, Durham, and surrounding counties. Call (919) 719-3470 to schedule an appointment, or contact us online at our website.
Sarah J. Hink
New Direction Family Law