Divorce is a challenging and emotionally difficult situation for everyone involved, especially children. While children are resilient and many react to their parents’ divorce in an understanding way, the fact remains that their family dynamic, and their life as they know it, is changing forever. This can be a difficult thing for anyone to cope with, especially a child. The situation is made worse when the divorce is contentious and involves a lengthy, expensive court battle instead of mediation.
How Litigated Divorce Can Negatively Impact Children
A costly, attorney litigated divorce is stressful and can take a toll on the entire family, including children. This can be a traumatic event, and can manifest itself in a wide range of behaviors and side effects in your children, including:
- Loss of Interest in Hobbies or Social Life
- Poor School Performance
- Becoming Angry or Emotionally Sensitive
- Feelings of Guilt
- Destructive Behavior
- Depression or Health Issues
To reduce these effects, working with your spouse for a peaceful resolution and making divorce as easy as possible on your children should be a top priority in your divorce.
How Can We Make Divorce or Separation Easier on Our Children?
There are a number of ways you and your spouse can reduce the strain of divorce or separation on your children, including:
- Don’t Air Your Grievances on Social Media. Tempers can run high during a divorce, and even though you might be tempted to take to Facebook or Twitter to talk about the situation, you do not want to risk your children seeing negative posts that will reflect badly on both parents.
- Don’t Confide in Your Child About the Divorce. On a similar note, you do not want to badmouth the other parent to your children, or tell them sensitive information that they do not need to know. It is in your child’s best interest that you and your spouse keep things civil.
- Avoiding Destructive Litigation with Divorce or Separation Mediation. Divorce mediation and separation mediation make the already difficult process of divorce much easier on you, your spouse, and your children. It is a quicker, cheaper, and less expensive process that will allow the family to get back to a sense of normalcy as soon as possible.
The Benefits of Mediation For Children During a Divorce or Separation
When both spouses can agree to participate in divorce mediation as an alternative to a traditional litigation, it can make the process easier on themselves and their children. Some of the benefits of mediation over litigation for divorce include:
- A Faster Process. Whereas divorce through the courts can stretch out for over a year, divorce mediation can be completed in as little as two to three months, which will spare your children a lengthy legal battle.
- Less Financially Damaging. Divorce mediation is a far cheaper option to traditional litigation for a variety of reasons, including a shorter amount of time, a single mediation instead of two attorneys, and a lack of retainer fees.
- Control Over the Process. As opposed to a litigated divorce, where attorneys and judges end up making the major decisions, mediation puts the decision making power in the hands of you and your spouse, so you can make the best choices for your children.
- A Peaceful Resolution. Hiring a neutral third party who works with both parties in mind can keep the process calm and focused, with improved communication and an outcome that benefits all parties, including children.
Read our full article on how mediation can protect children during divorce. Also be sure to check out our Comprehensive Guide to Divorce Mediation and Legal Separation in New Jersey.
For more information on how divorce can negatively impact children, please see this video, which was produced by Lawrence Jones, a colleague and friend who is a former superior court judge in New Jersey.
Divorce is always difficult, but it does not have to negatively impact your children. Steven B. Menack has helped thousands of clients reach a peaceful and satisfying conclusion to their marriage. Contact us to find out more about divorce mediation and whether it is right for your case.