Let’s work on making holidays better for children of separated or divorced parents.
The post 4 Tips to Help Children Enjoy Their Post-Divorce Holidays appeared first on Divorce Magazine.
Let’s work on making holidays better for children of separated or divorced parents.
The post 4 Tips to Help Children Enjoy Their Post-Divorce Holidays appeared first on Divorce Magazine.
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Although you may not be able to avoid tension during a divorce, your kids are your most important consideration. That’s why it’s vital to arrange a child maintenance agreement.
The post Child Support: How To Reach a Child Maintenance Agreement That Benefits Your Children appeared first on Divorce Magazine.
Originally published by The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC Blog.
Military parents have a great deal on their minds, both before setting off for deployment and while overseas. If you count yourself among those people who serve in our armed forces I would like to first thank you for making that sacrifice for all us here in southeast Texas. We are indebted to you for your willingness to go above and beyond in protecting our country. The sacrifices that you make are especially difficult if you are a parent.
Today’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan is geared towards helping you to know what is recommended for you to take care of prior to your being deployed. Obviously, it will be very difficult for you to focus on anything other than your mission once you are overseas, so it is much wiser to start focusing on these issues now rather than later. Financial, medical and emotional support for your children is essential to their being able to grow up and become positive contributors to our country.
This is not the same question as asking whether or not your child has a father. If you are a mother who was not married to your child’s father at the time your child was born, he or she could be lacking a legally recognized father. When two parents are married, there is a legal presumption that when a child is born the mother’s husband is the father to the child. No further action needs to be taken by the couple to have this legally established. However, that presumption does not exist when parents are not married.
If you and the other parent were not married when your child was born you could have completed a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity (AOP) that is your statement under oath that this child is your biological offspring. If you and the child’s father fills out one of these forms and files them with the state, no further action will need to be taken. The father of your child will from that point forward be the legal father of your child. While an AOP may not have been completed, a court order may have been obtained previously that legally recognizes the father of your child.
Or, you could find yourself in a position where fatherhood was not acknowledged voluntarily and you have not yet been to court. Some people in your position find themselves not knowing at all what the situation actually is. Does your child have a legally established father or not? If this sounds like where you are, then you can choose to go one of the two routes I described above. You and your child’s father can voluntarily acknowledge paternity or you can file a paternity lawsuit and have paternity determined through a court case.
This is another big issue that you need to attend to prior to going overseas. It is likely that you and your child’s other parent will share parental rights and responsibilities. A possession order will determine how much time you will be able to spend with your child and when. With your going overseas it is seven more important that you know what the visitation you will have with your child is going to be like once he returns from overseas. Most parents who have gone through family law cases are joint managing conservators. You can ask a court to have your ex-spouse or child’s other parent to be able to determine the primary residence of your child while you are outside of the country.
While most parents in Texas share on a near equal basis in the rights and duties associated with raising their child, one right that is not held equally is the right to determine the primary residence of your children. Either you or your child’s other parent will hold this right individually. The parent who has this right is known as the custodial parent. The other parent is known as the non-custodial parent. The non-custodial parent has their time spelled out in the court orders under a possession order.
An important question to ask yourself is who will be able to have custody of your child while you are deployed overseas. As mentioned a moment ago, you can ask the court to be able to allow the other parent to be able to determine where your child lives while you are away overseas. Likewise, if you are the noncustodial parent to a child then you can ask the court to assign your visitation time with your child to another adult.
A court order goes into a great amount of detail regarding a number of different subjects related to you and your child, but it typically will not discuss with much detail what will happen with your child should certain contingencies occur in your lives. There just simply is not enough room to work every hypothetical situation into this document.
What you and your child’s other parent can do is create an agreement/roadmap that will go into the level of detail that you would like. That way there will be no question as to what will happen when you are deployed and are not able to fulfill your duties as a parent when you are shipped overseas.
What about child support? Will your child still be able to receive support even after you are not ln the country. A child support order includes two requirements. The first is that financial support be provided to your child and the second is that medical support will also be provided. If you are the noncustodial parent, then you need to be aware that your net monthly resources will be what is needed in order to determine how much child support you will pay.
It happens on occasion that sometimes parents who are deployed overseas seas is that their income can change- either positively or negatively. If this occurs, you can request a modification of the current court orders to show exactly what degree of an income increase or decrease has occurred. This could be true even if you are the parent of a child who will not be deployed but who raises a child with a person who will be. You can also ask to have a modification of the amount of child support that you receive done.
You may want to see if you can arrange it so a relative of yours has access to your bank accounts while you are overseas. This can come in handy if your child needs someone to help him or she pays for something while you are deployed.
If you and your child’s other parent have never been able to agree upon how much child support should be paid, then it is a good idea to attempt to get this number established by a court prior to your being deployed.
Many parents find themselves in a position where he or she will agree with the other parent on an amount to pay in child support, only to see that other parents increase the amount for seemingly no reason at all. Thus, if you want to avoid the chances of your child’s other parent asking for an increase in child support while you are deployed, it is wise to attempt to get a court order before you even leave the country. Since custody, visitation and other aspects of parenting are also taken care of in a child support case, there are even more reasons to attempt to establish a fixed amount of child support prior to deployment.
You are able to designate another person to receive information about your child support case by filling out a form and sending it into your local child support office. You can go to the Office of the Attorney General’s website for more information on this. Likewise, you can also revoke this form when you return from deployment.
As far as logistics is concerned, it would be a lot easier for you if your child is born before you are deployed to another country. However, sometimes you cannot control when these things happen. In the event that you are overseas when your child is born and you are not married to the child’s mother, you can still establish paternity via an Acknowledgment of Paternity being completed.
You may not be sure if you are the child’s father. If that is the case you should not sign any paperwork until you can have genetic testing administered. Free DNA testing is offered through the Office of the Attorney General.
If you are beyond the point of establishing paternity, you should do whatever you can to maintain a relationship with your child when you are overseas. Technology has made this task much easier given that phone calls, email, Skype, social media and text messaging are all prevalent. It is true that you will not have as much of an opportunity to take advantage of these methods of communication but you should seek them out when you have the available time. You can have a profound impact on your child even when you are thousands of miles away.
You can also check in with your child’s other parent so you can maintain a sense of decision-making capabilities when it comes to the daily life of your child. School activities, extracurricular events, doctor’s visits, and many other occurrences will go on in your absence. You can feel less homesick and distant from your child by keeping up to date with what is going on in their life as best you can.
You should get in touch with the Office of the Attorney General’ child support division in order to re-establish who is to receive child support on behalf of your child and who can access information about your child now that you are back home.
Noncustodial parents should ask the OAG to review your case if your income has increased or decreased as a result of being deployed. The child support that you pay no longer be correct based on those changed circumstances.
Finally, you should spend as much time with your child as possible. While he or she is likely very happy to have you back home, it may take some time for him or her to adjust to your being home instead of overseas. You can learn about your child’s life and how it has changed. This will help you to make decisions with your child’s other parent about your child’s well-being.
Do you have any questions about the content in today’s blog post? If so, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week. These consultations are a great opportunity for you to ask questions and receive direct feedback about your particular circumstances.
Our attorneys and staff take a great deal of pride in being able to help the people that live in our community. We practice in all of the family courts of southeast Texas and work every day to help our clients achieve their goals. If you are facing challenging circumstances related to your family, you need to look no further than the Law Office of Bryan Fagan to assist you in whatever capacity you need.
Parents often ask me for resources to help them support their children who are living with an abusive parent. It can be such a difficult topic to explain as there are so many emotions involved.
I have therefore compiled this list, with the help of many of my clients, to offer you some guidance and words on how to best support the child.
It is broken down into age categories for ease but remember that a child’s physical age is not necessarily their emotional age so be mindful of where that child is at in terms of their own understanding.
At this age children are learning that their behaviour effects the world around them and these early experiences form a blueprint for how they see their world. They may blame themselves for arguments and will be asking things like “why does mummy hate daddy?” or “what did I do wrong?” Children will also begin to assert themselves in play and this can be aggressive.
Boys can “fall in love” with their mothers and girls with their fathers and so this stages forms a blueprint for relationships and how they view the opposite sex. Abusive parents can distort a child’s view of what the role of a mummy/daddy and man/woman is.
Therefore the books in this list focus on helping children to manage their emotions and understand anger better.
The Feelings Book by Todd Parr
Abusive parenting can result in emotions becoming very scary and distorted. The child may witness a parent happy one minute, angry the next with no trigger. They won’t know what changed and so can be confused by not just their own emotions but also their parents.
Many children with abusive parents can also take ownership of their parent’s emotions and express them as their own. Saying “I’m sad” or “I’m scared” but smiling and laughing.
This books helps children to identify what they are feeling on a range of subjects.
How are you feeling today Baby Bear By Jane Evans
Children who grow up in abusive homes often feel they did something wrong to cause the argument. They regularly feel afraid, lonely, angry and tired.
This sensitive, charming storybook is written to help children who have lived with violence at home to begin to explore and name their feelings.
Kit Kitten and the Topsy Turvy Feelings by Jane Evans
Once upon a time there was a little kitten called Kit who lived with a grown-up cat called Kizz Cat. Kit Kitten couldn’t understand why sometimes Kizz Cat seemed sad and faraway and others times was busy and rushing about. Kit Kitten was sometimes cold and confused in this topsy turvy world and needed help to find ways to tell others about the big, medium and small feelings which were stuck inside. Luckily for Kit, Kindly Cat came along. Many children live in homes where things are chaotic and parents or carers are distracted and emotionally unavailable to them.
This storybook, designed for children aged 2 to 6, includes feelings based activities to build a child’s emotional awareness and vocabulary. A helpful tool for use by parents, carers, social workers and other professionals to enable young children to begin to name and talk about their feelings.
Two Homes by Claire Masurel
In this award-winning picture book classic about divorce, Alex has two homes – a home where Daddy lives and a home where Mummy lives. Alex has two front doors, two bedrooms and two very different favourite chairs. He has a toothbrush at Mummy’s and a toothbrush at Daddy’s. But whether Alex is with Mummy or Daddy, one thing stays the same: Alex is loved by them both – always.
This gently reassuring story focuses on what is gained rather than what is lost when parents divorce, while the sensitive illustrations, depicting two unique homes in all their small details, firmly establish Alex’s place in both of them. Two Homes will help children – and parents – embrace even the most difficult of changes with an open and optimistic heart.
Although not specifically centred upon parental mental health, divorce is an unsettling time for both parents and children and so this book may help ease the worry of how to explain what is happening to a child.
Grow Happy by Jon Lasser
“My name is Kiko. I’m a gardener. I grow happy. Let me show you how.” Kiko shows the reader how she grows happiness: by making good choices, taking care of her body and mind, paying attention to her feelings, problem solving, and spending time with family and friends. Kids will learn that they can play a pivotal role in creating their own happiness, just like Kiko. A Note to Parents and Other Caregivers provides more strategies for helping children learn how to grow happiness. Age range 4-8.
Anger is Okay, Violence is Not by Julie K Federico
Anger is OKAY Violence is NOT belongs on the desk of every child protective services case worker. This book has a hidden message for children who are living with violence and struggling with a domestic violence definition. This book is also a great resource for toddler’s struggling with temper tantrums. The book offers replacement behaviors children can do instead of getting angry. Anger is OKAY Violence is NOT teaches children about fish, feelings, families and anger control.
A Terrible Thing Happened by Margaret Holmes
Sherman Smith saw the most terrible thing happen. At first he tried to forget about it, but soon something inside him started to bother him. He felt nervous for no reason. Sometimes his stomach hurt. He had bad dreams. And he started to feel angry and do mean things, which got him in trouble. Then he met Ms. Maple, who helped him talk about the terrible thing that he had tried to forget. Now Sherman is feeling much better.
This gently told and tenderly illustrated story is for children who have witnessed any kind of violent or traumatic episode, including physical abuse, school or gang violence, accidents, homicide, suicide, and natural disasters such as floods or fire. An afterword written for parents and other caregivers offers extensive suggestions for helping traumatized children, including a list of other sources that focus on specific events.
At this age, children are asking more questions and starting to understand right from wrong. This can be especially hard when they are being taught bullying and violence is wrong but witness this at home. It can be really difficult for them to process and they will struggle with their own identity as well as feeling alienated from others. They will begin to identify with their own gender and so can align themselves with the abusive parent of the same sex. They are also learning consequences and to push boundaries. Abusive parents can either have to strict or too lapse boundaries and so children struggle to feel safe. This can lead to them withdrawing or lashing out.
The books in this age bracket are therefore focused on developing their identity and managing behaviours.
Lizzy Lives In An Angry House: Learning to Thrive In the Midst of an Angry Environment by Karen Addison MSPH
Karen Addison, educator, author and speaker, has witnessed and experienced the devastating effects of emotional and verbal abuse. Many have not addressed this form of destruction in relationships because it is difficult to talk about and difficult to understand. Often people don’t realize they are in emotionally destructive relationships, and this is especially true of children. If they are living in a home where a parent is “scary angry” and emotionally destructive, chances are the other parent is struggling to cope with that person, as well as the negative dynamics in the home. With wisdom and practical experience, Addison gives readers young and old alike an empathetic approach to recognising emotionally destructive (scary angry) relationships and tools to help those living in “scary angry” homes overcome and break the cycle of abuse
The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig
Meet Brian, the invisible boy. Nobody ever seems to notice him or think to include him in their group, game, or birthday party . . . until, that is, a new kid comes to class.
When Justin, the new boy, arrives, Brian is the first to make him feel welcome. And when Brian and Justin team up to work on a class project together, Brian finds a way to shine.
From esteemed author and speaker Trudy Ludwig and acclaimed illustrator Patrice Barton, this gentle story shows how small acts of kindness can help children feel included and allow them to flourish. Any parent, teacher, or counselor looking for material that sensitively addresses the needs of quieter children will find The Invisible Boy a valuable and important resource.
Includes backmatter with discussion questions and resources for further reading.
Angryman by Gro Dahle
There’s someone in the living room.
It is Angryman.
Boj’s father can be very angry and violent. Boj calls this side of his father’s personality “Angryman.” When Angryman comes no one is safe. Until something powerful happens…
Gro Dahle’s astute text and Svein Nyhus’s bold, evocative art capture the full range of emotions that descend upon a small family as they grapple with “Angryman.” With an important message to children who experience the same things as Boj: You are not alone. It’s not your fault. You must tell someone you trust. It doesn’t have to be this way!
Somebody Cares: a Guide for Kids Who Have Experienced Neglect by Susan Farber Straus
Somebody Cares explores the feelings and thoughts many kids have when they’ve had to look out for themselves or be alone much of the time. A useful book to read with a caring adult — such as a parent, foster parent, kinship parent, or therapist — Somebody Cares reassures children who have experienced neglect that they are not to blame for what happened in their family, and that they can feel good about themselves for many reasons. It takes time for kids to get used to changes in their family or living situation, even when they are good changes. This book will help kids learn some ways to feel safer, more relaxed, and more confident.
Teenagers are going through their own internal battle with hormone changes as well as having to make some life choices with regards to career. They often regress to toddler behaviour due to this pressure. For children with abusive parents the control between their own family and their friends can cause real confusion and disappointment or anger. They may, due to hormonal issues, start to lash out more and this can terrify them because they recognise themselves in their abusive parent. Equally they may see a passive parent and feel anger towards them for not doing anything. There may also be a physical risk to the child at this age as they talk back.
Children at this age will have a strong sense or morality though and so are more likely to want to speak out to others about the injustice they feel at home and perhaps even run away or move out as soon as they are old enough.
Therefore books for this age group are around managing their own emotions and feeling safe to speak up and gain some understanding about what is happening in their family.
Don’t let your emotions run your life by Sheri van Dijk
Let’s face it: life gives you plenty of reasons to get angry, sad, scared, and frustrated&mdashand those feelings are okay. But sometimes it can feel like your emotions are taking over, spinning out of control with a mind of their own. To make matters worse, these overwhelming emotions might be interfering with school, causing trouble in your relationships, and preventing you from living a happier life.
Don’t Let Your Emotions Run Your Life for Teens is a workbook that can help. In this book, you’ll find new ways of managing your feelings so that you’ll be ready to handle anything life sends your way. Based in dialectical behavior therapy, a type of therapy designed to help people who have a hard time handling their intense emotions, this workbook helps you learn the skills you need to ride the ups and downs of life with grace and confidence.
This book offers easy techniques to help you: Stay calm and mindful in difficult situations, Effectively manage out-of-control emotions, Reduce the pain of intense emotions and Get along with family and friends
My Anxious Mind: A Teen’s Guide to Managing Anxiety and Panic by Michael A. Tompkins, Ph.D., and Katherine A. Martinez, Psy.D
Learn strategies to help you take control of your anxiety. The authors share information about breathing, thinking, facing fears, panic attacks, nutrition, sleep, exercise, medication, and how to tell if and when anxiety is a problem.
The Truth about Love, Dating and Just Being Friends by Chat Eastham
Chad shines some much-needed light on these major issues for teens. Rather than let their feelings navigate them blindly through their tumultuous adolescence, Chad offers clarity, some surprising revelations, and answers to some of their biggest questions: How do I know who to date? When should I start dating? How should I start dating? Is this really love? And, Why do guys I like just want to be friends?
Packed with humor that adds to the sound advice, this book will help teens make better decisions, have healthier relationships, and be more prepared for their futures. Just a few things girls will learn include: Five things you need to know about love; Eight dumb dating things even smart people do; Ten reasons why teens are unhappy; and Ten things happy teens do.
Any teen can live a happier, healthier life: they just need to hear The Truth
Forged By Fire by Sharon M Draper
Will Gerald find the courage to stand up to his stepfather?
When his loving aunt dies, Gerald suddenly is thrust into a new home filled with anger and abuse. A brutal stepfather with a flaming temper and an evil secret makes Gerald miserable, and the only light in his grim life is Angel, his young stepsister. Gerald and Angel grow close as he strives to protect her from Jordan, his abusive stepfather, and from their substance-addicted mother. But Gerald learns, painfully, that his post can’t be extinguished, and that he must be strong enough to face Jordan in a final confrontation, once and for all….
I have just compiled some that I think resonate with my audience but please do your own research. You know what your child is ready for. Also remember that the ages are not cut off points and so be mindful of your own child’s capacity and choose the ones which best suit by the content, not the age.
Wash your hands. Eat your vegetables. Wear your bike helmet. Mothers direct much of their energy toward keeping their children safe and healthy. That’s why moms have such a hard time leaving their children in the care of someone else. It even can be hard for a mother to trust the other parent. And if the other parent has a problem with alcohol, a mother’s instincts are likely to be in full protective mode.
If your ex struggles with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), you may have wrestled with some or all of these questions: Can I legally cut off or restrict contact between my child and the father? If I can do so, should I? Is there a way to maintain contact but keep my children safe? What part can my children play in ensuring their own safety?
Every case is different, but generally, research shows that children benefit from contact with both parents, as long as they are emotionally stable and the two of them aren’t waging war with one other. Also, you may compromise your own legal position if you deny your ex court-ordered parenting time. But when AUD enters the picture, more serious concerns make an appearance, too.
Alcohol Use Disorder and Parenting Time
Generally speaking, alcohol use does not render a parent unworthy of parenting time. Courts usually consider drinking an issue only if there is proof, usually in the form of arrests or other legal records, that the parent drinks to excess. Even then, parents may be allowed contact with children, especially if they are enrolled in a treatment program.
A mother in the process of getting a divorce can try for restricted or supervised parenting time for the parent struggling with alcoholism. If the decree has already been decided, however, getting it altered can be a time-consuming process.
The practical outcome, in many cases, is that the mother is responsible for determining whether the father is using alcohol before or during his parenting time and for ascertaining whether his alcohol use affects his ability to care for his children.
It goes without saying that mothers can also struggle with alcoholism, but this article is specifically targeted toward moms whose ex-husbands have AUD.
Make Your Stance Known
Communication is still important even when your spouse becomes your ex-spouse. Your ex should not feel blindsided by any actions that you might feel are necessary. If your divorce decree is final and does not address the issue of your ex’s alcohol use, you need to let him know ahead of time how you will handle any alcohol-related crises that might occur.
It’s optimal if you and your ex can come up with such a plan together, but realistically that is not going to occur in most cases. If your ex-husband is in denial about his alcohol use, he may insist that he would never endanger his children. No matter what he says, you should make it clear that being intoxicated during his parenting time will not be tolerated.
If you are dealing with an ex-spouse whose abuse of alcohol is intractable, you may decide that gaining sole custody is your only workable solution. In order to have a chance of getting sole custody, you will have to present evidence that the father’s alcohol abuse puts his children in danger and that being in his care is not in the children’s best interests.
Parental rights are strong. Gathering and presenting evidence against an ex-husband is an uncomfortable role for many women, but without strong evidence, you have little chance of getting sole custody. You can hire a private investigator, but your input and testimony will probably be needed as well.
If what you are seeking is a modification of your original child custody decree, you will need to present evidence of a material change in circumstances. If your ex’s alcohol use was in evidence during the original divorce case, you will need to show evidence that his use has increased and that it is not in the best interests of your children for him to have physical custody at any time.
Some states have laws regulating how soon and how often you can request a modification of your court order. In order to file a request for modification outside of that time frame, you will need to show that your children are in physical danger or will suffer significant mental or emotional distress. The exact requirements and wording for requesting modifications vary from state to state.
A Practical Solution
A remote alcohol monitoring system, such as Soberlink, is another possible solution for you and your ex. This system combines a breathalyzer with wireless connectivity. The portable design and technology include facial recognition, tamper detection and real-time reporting. Soberlink proves sobriety with reliability to foster trust and peace of mind. The reliability of alcohol monitoring systems has been upheld in court.
Alcohol monitoring systems are quick to put into place and can reassure you about your ex’s sobriety when it matters most. Although the courts may mandate testing, you and your ex-husband could also work out an agreement requiring that he submit a test prior to and/or during parenting time. Using such a system could greatly increase your peace of mind while your children are out of your care.
The Role of Your Children
Most experts agree that children should not be put in the position of reporting to one parent about the other parent’s behavior. Still, once your children reach a certain age, they can be participants in ensuring their own safety. Here are some steps to consider:
Sharing your children with an ex with AUD is never easy, even when things are going well. You want your children to have the security of two parents who love them, but you may have trouble forgiving their other parent. You really need time away from your children, but you may find it hard to relax when they are gone. You feel that you should talk to your children about Alcohol Abuse, but you don’t want to portray their father as a bad parent.
There are no easy fixes for your situation, but it’s important to take care of yourself and get help and advice if you need it. Some people find direction and comfort in Al-Anon, an organization for friends and families of alcoholics that is based upon the 12-step approach of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Some hospitals, clinics, and churches also offer support groups for those affected by Alcohol Use Disorder. If you are uncomfortable with a group approach, consider one-on-one sessions with a spiritual leader or therapist.
While you are trying to work with your ex to keep him in your kids’ lives, don’t be naive. If you happen across any evidence that your ex-husband’s alcohol abuse is out of control, document it. Keep a record if he misses scheduled visits, shows up late, does not respond to phone calls or texts or otherwise fails to act in a responsible manner. This information could be helpful if you have to take legal steps to protect your children.
If you need legal advice, find an attorney. If you can’t afford a lawyer, use this list of resources for free legal help. If you or your children need counseling or therapy, this advice from Mental Health America may be useful.
The post Alcoholic Ex? Practical and Legal Remedies For Protecting Your Children appeared first on Divorced Moms.
Domestic Violence should never be taken lightly. While the severity may range, it doesn’t take away from the seriousness of the situation. The way victims choose to respond varies as well. Some victims wait before seeking help, others may immediately look for guidance, and unfortunately, some may never even report the incident(s). It’s important to let those victims know though that there is support out there.
By allowing an abusive relationship to continue, you could be putting yourself and your family in an even worse position. When victims opt to not ask for help, it not only puts them in a bad situation but their children as well. We don’t always acknowledge how children tend to be indirect victims when it comes to domestic violence. Even if the kids aren’t the target for physical or abusive behavior in the home, they can still suffer socially and psychologically.
If you or someone you know is suffering through domestic violence with kids at home, it’s important to know there are people ready to help. Taking legal action can only benefit you and your kids when it comes to escaping the cruelties of domestic violence in the home.
While victims of domestic violence take the brunt of the abuse, kids living in the home will suffer also. This is why getting in touch with a divorce lawyer is extremely important. While it may not always be physical, just being present during a negative situation can lead to problems in the future. The effect of observing domestic violence has on kids ranges. If your kids are living in a home with domestic violence, they may end up with some of the following issues:
While it may not be apparent to your child what’s actually going on, it will eventually begin to impact them negatively. Which will lead them to struggle in their adult lives. Issues the involve feeling safe or even forming relationships may arise as they grow up. They could also end up in abusive relationships themselves, due to the secrets and hush tendencies they witnessed in their homes throughout their adolescence.
The age difference:
Keep in mind that the negative effects we previously discussed may not always occur, depending on the age of your child. The stage of life your child is experiencing or witnessing abuse can lead to different issues or needs. For example, an infant who is present during an episode of domestic violence may experience attachment issues. This could lead to excessive crying as well as eating and sleeping difficulties.
Whereas a preschool-aged child may experience different effects after being present during episodes of domestic violence. At this stage of the child’s life, they are in need of protection and stability, which normally would be provided by their parent. Unfortunately though, when they live in a home where domestic violence is common, these needs become disrupted causing further emotional and physical outbursts.
Contact a lawyer:
In most cases of domestic abuse, there are legitimate grounds for divorce, especially if there are children are involved. As long as the victim(s) are actively reporting the incidents, they’ll have the right to leave the violent offender. By contacting a lawyer, you’ll obtain full custody of your children or child.
If you, or someone you know, is a married victim of domestic violence, with children there is a team of attorneys ready to help. A qualified professional can help you take action towards ending the abuse going on in your home by initiating the divorce process in a safe manner.
The post Domestic Violence And Children: What Is The Impact? appeared first on Divorced Moms.
There are tons of resources and advice on getting divorced with minor children but adult children tend to be forgotten. What’s important to understand about divorce with adult children is that it is still painful for them.
You need to be every bit as mindful and intentional about your divorce as you would have been if your children were still minors.
Telling Your Children
How your children hear about your divorce matters. With minor children living at home, the best approach is for both parents to tell all the children together so they all hear the same message. Divorce attorney-turned adviser and coach, Karen Covy says that’s still the best approach for adult children.
“However you can orchestrate getting everyone together whether it’s physically or virtually, at the same time, in the same place, gives you the most control over what’s communicated and how it’s communicated,” said Covy.
The danger in telling each child individually is that before you even finished having the conversation with the first child, they’re already passing on the news to their sibling(s) via text, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or whatever other technology they use.
Adult Children Feel Responsible
Adult children do take on the responsibility for their parents’ divorce, just as minor children do but they do it in a different way.
“They might not feel that they’re necessarily responsible for the breakup of the marriage,” said Covy. “They feel responsible for their parents’ unhappiness for all the years that they stayed together just for the kids.”
That translates often into a huge amount of guilt and it’s something that most parents don’t think about especially if they’re struggling with their own guilt. With that burden of guilt, your child may be advocating against the divorce or encouraging marriage counseling. They may be well-meaning but this is not their decision.
With long term marriages, the kids may be wondering if you’ve managed to make the marriage work for 30. 35, 40 years, why not just keep doing do what you’ve been doing.
“Just because you’ve handled it for 40 years doesn’t mean that you want to continue handing it for whatever time is left,” said Covy. “The problem is no children ever want to see their parents get divorced but it’s your decision, not theirs.”
It’s Harder When They Don’t See It Coming
Children who think their parents have a perfect marriage and don’t see the divorce coming have a harder time coping and especially when a child has a close relationship with a parent. Covy references research by Professor Tamara Afifi. She has a TEDx talk on the impact of divorce on children – see minute 11:56 for when she talks about children who don’t see the divorce coming.
I think children don’t see divorce coming when one party has decided the marriage needs to end but has made a decision to wait until the children are in college before acting. That parent starts to withdraw from the marriage, detaches and so they don’t engage in conflict and are able to construct this facade of a happy marriage. That enables the parent to stay in the marriage, to do family events and celebrations, have family vacations.
Then, when the end of the marriage happens the child is surprised because their parents never argued so of course, they had no idea the marriage was troubled.
“It rocks their whole world,” said Covy. “They start doubting whether what they saw was real. It’s not at all what it seemed.”
That starts a process rewriting their history and trying to make sense of family vacations and holidays. They struggle to find the truth in these events and it’s hard for them to accept the concept of multiple realities.
Adult children of divorce also start to look at their own relationships. That their parents did such a good job of covering up their problems, makes the child wonder about what’s real or solid in their own relationship.
The Kids Usually Know Something Is Not Right
While some kids don’t see the end of their parents’ marriage coming, many do. They’ve heard the arguments, or they’ve seen the behaviors that have made the marriage crumble or that made staying together really difficult.
Even if they don’t know the full extent, once you remove the protective shield of keeping up the facade, and the children start to renegotiate their relationship with each parent, their awareness will increase.
The Kids Don’t Need To Know Everything
While adult children struggle to rewrite their truth, it can be tempting to try to explain your own reality. There’s a fine line.
“For parents, the smartest thing is they’ve got to walk the line,” said Covy. “They want to share enough information to reassure them that no those weren’t fake. Those happy memories really were happy memories but perhaps there were other memories that the children weren’t privy to.”
Parents usually keep those circumstances from the children out of love and wanting to protect the children and that doesn’t make the other memories fake. And just because the parents have made the decision to end their marriage doesn’t mean that it is now time to share everything that has been going on.
Covy says the key here is to listen to your child and to let them vent. They may be angry. They may be frustrated and they’re going to have an opinion but don’t play into it and don’t get defensive.
This is related to children not needing to know everything but it’s so important it needs to be emphasized. A common mistake that many people make is to overshare with their adult children because they think they’re adults and they can handle it. That’s not necessarily true.
Avoiding oversharing becomes trickier with adult children because they are going to ask the questions that younger children don’t. For example, your adult child may come right out and ask if you or their other parent was having an affair. If an affair was involved you might feel like telling your child because it justifies the divorce, it helps to explain everything.
“We all value honesty in our close relationships so that gives parents the impetus to overshare,” said Covy. “But then what? Nobody wants to know their parent was having a 10-year affair and all the gory details of who it was and what they did and where it happened. Nobody wants to know that about their parent. And to think that won’t damage a relationship with a parent is crazy.”
While you are not responsible for covering up or keeping your STBX’s secrets Covy says that your North Star for deciding what to share is asking if sharing the information will hurt your child’s relationship with their other parent and whether not sharing it will hurt your child’s relationship with you.
Related to over-sharing is getting your child over-involved. A classic example of this is when one parent needs to move out of the marital home and asks their child if they can move in with them. Finances may be very limited and finding somewhere inexpensive to live for at least a few months may be a priority but if there are other options take them. And, if the real reason to move in with your child is for emotional support, then all the more reason to look for somewhere else to live. Your child is not your social support system or your therapist.
Don’t Ask Or Expect Your Child To Take A Side
Based on my experience, I think it is more common for adult children to take sides in their parents’ divorce because they do know or think they know more about the circumstances. This isn’t healthy and it’s not what we want. In the short term, taking sides will certainly hurt the child’s relationship with the parent they’re opposing. In the long run, it may even hurt their relationship with the parent with whom they’re allied. The other real danger is that it will damage a child’s relationship with their sibling(s) because it pits them against each other.
This is easier said than done especially in situations where one parent is oversharing. For example, if you end up keeping the marital home as a result of the divorce negotiations, your child might say that they don’t think it’s fair that their other parent gave you the home. The word ‘gave’ is a red flag that your STBX has been oversharing and painting you in a negative light.
To not respond or defend yourself would likely damage your relationship with your child which may already be strained. At the same time, you want to avoid oversharing because the details of the divorce are not your child’s business. Even if your STBX is oversharing, taking the high road is the right choice.
In this case, responding with an acknowledgment that yes you did get the home, that your STBX didn’t “give” you the home, and then stating that your ex got other assets that are worth as much as the house would be appropriate. You could also explain that the legal process does call for an equitable division of the assets and that is supervised by the court.
It’s Takes Time To Rebuild
While your adult child is wondering what was real about the family vacations and Holiday get-togethers may be an opportunity for you to reassure them that’s how you can all still be a family even after divorce, Covy stresses that it still takes time to rebuild.
It’s simply not realistic to think that because you and your STBX have managed these events civilly, even amicably in the past that you can carry on doing so as if the divorce didn’t change anything. It’s a great ideal but it does take most families time and commitment to achieve this.
“I see so many people put pressure on themselves and say, ‘I want to be best friends with my ex’ and I say, ‘Yeah, but you haven’t even divorced him, yet’” said Covy. “If you’re not friends immediately that’s ok. It doesn’t mean you’re not going to ever be friends or be on good terms them.”
Give yourself the time to get through the legal process first and to let the dust settle. Sometimes continuing family dinners while you’re navigating your separation is just too painful and doesn’t help the children either because it exposes to them to on-going conflict and makes feel caught in the middle.
This article was originally published on Since My Divorce.
Are you in too much of a funk to give a second thought to fireworks and hotdogs? Holidays…the 4th of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas can be difficult to celebrate if you are without your children. Let’s face it; watching other children in awe of the magic of fireworks isn’t easy when your children are spending the day with their Dad. Your “funk” is understandable!
How do you get yourself out of a funk?
One thing that has always worked for me is to let go of the guilt I feel over feeling less than celebratory. There is nothing wrong with missing your children, especially if your tradition has been to spend special holidays with them.
It has been my experience that feeling bad about feeling bad only made me feel worse. It was like piling one more negative emotion to deal with on top of everything else. If you are divorced and feeling alone and funked you are experiencing normal feelings. Accept that it is fine to feel how you’re feeling…berating yourself over valid feelings doesn’t do anything except make you feel worse.
You need to also give yourself permission to enjoy the holiday regardless of what kind of adversity you have or, are experiencing. Feeling lonely and isolated doesn’t have to become a foregone conclusion. Just because you aren’t all red, white and blue is no reason to immerse yourself in maudlin activities while others are out and about enjoying their 4th of July.
1. Don’t participate in any 4th of July activities you feel obligated to participate in. If you aren’t in the mood to be around nosy relatives, then make a different choice. Listening to Grandma’s complaints or having to answer your cousin’s questions about your divorce can be nerve-wracking. Be kind to your nerves and yourself!
2. Friends who supported you through your divorce, who know what you’ve been through will also get you through a lonely holiday. Spend time with people who are invested in helping you get the most out of life…who better than close friends who don’t expect too much from you.
3. If you find yourself alone, remind yourself that you have a right to a good time. I spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day alone one year. I wasn’t looking forward to it but now that I look back I realize that, although alone it was one darn good time. Whether it be the 4th of July or any post-divorce holiday alone, treat yourself to something special.
A bubble bath, a day of romantic comedies, a bit of wine and a few chocolates. Maybe even a sparkler or two! Pamper yourself on your day alone and be rested and relaxed for when the kids get home.
Stress and negative feelings during a post-divorce holiday can be difficult, but they don’t have to be debilitating. Making time to relax and do the things you enjoy is essential to keeping a balance. When facing a holiday alone, remind yourself that you have as much right to a good time as anyone else so, relax and enjoy the occasion to the best of your ability.
The post Life, Liberty and Shared Custody: Surviving 4th of July Without Your Children appeared first on Divorced Moms.
There are a number of practical issues to address when a couple with one or more special needs children goes through a divorce, such as custody, family support, education, finances, and legal rights.
The post 06/04 The Impact of Divorce on Children With Special Needs appeared first on Divorce Magazine.