There is always a risk that minor children will suffer lasting emotional harm when their parents divorce.
This is not to suggest that children would be better off in a household where the mutual affection between parents is absent. Nor should parents consider continuing a loveless marriage “for the sake of the children.” But the change that necessarily accompanies a divorce is unsettling to young people even when parents have a cooperative, “easy” divorce. If a divorce is hostile, then a child can experience significant, enduring emotional and psychological injuries.
As Wilmington family law attorneys, we have seen too many children sacrificed in North Carolina divorce proceedings. We can tell you that children are incredibly resilient in a loving environment, and also that it is far easier than you would imagine to injure them thoughtlessly during a divorce. It is absolutely imperative that your children remain foremost in your mind throughout the lawsuit.
How to treat your children during a divorce action in North Carolina
Consider these suggestions:
- Insulate your kids from the damage that can be done in a divorce. Protect your children’s long-term interests early on. If you believe that either you or your spouse may accidentally hurt your children’s future prospects, have your Wilmington divorce lawyer ask for a guardian ad litem to be appointed.
- Don’t ask your child to take sides. You should work to make sure that the child will be able to sustain a positive relationship with both parents after the divorce. Children are not pawns or poker chips. They should not be made to feel bad for loving both parents.
- Keep the details to yourself. Minor children should not be told what goes on in the courtroom or descriptions of misbehavior by either parent. Make sure that other members of your extended family honor your wishes not to tell the kids inappropriate details, too.
- Reassure your children as often as needed that they are not responsible for the divorce. Don’t let your son or daughter grow up with a burden of misplaced guilt.
- Pay attention to your child’s thoughts and feelings. A change in the family organization and living arrangements can be disorienting and frightening. Schedule time to talk things over with your child. If the stress seems to be too great for your son or daughter to handle, arrange for professional counseling.
Choose a law firm with empathy for your role as a parent
At Speaks Law Firm, we have deep respect for the crucial role parents—both parents—play in their child’s development. We pride ourselves on our compassion and delicacy in handling family law matters in New Hanover County and the surrounding area. We invite you to call us at 910-341-7570 or toll-free at 877-593-4233 to learn how our legal representation can help you.