Where January is often considered the peak time of year for unhappy couples to consult family law attorneys, statistics indicate that more couples in Massachusetts and across the nation actually file for divorce in March than during any other month. Regardless, for many separating parents, the most important aspect of a divorce is not the timing, but rather how it will affect their children. The good news is that, from child custody issues to exploring alternative dispute resolution options, there are ways parents can make their divorce as child-centered as possible.
Studies have shown that it is not necessarily the divorce itself, but rather the parents’ emotional turmoil and fighting that negatively affects children. When possible, it may be best when both parents try to set aside their feelings toward each other in an attempt to co-parent peacefully. This could be as simple as parents avoiding arguing or belittling each other in front of their children or could extend to low-conflict options such as mediation or a collaborative divorce.
Additionally, parents may find it helpful to establish temporary custody and support orders. Having a written plan detailing when each parent will see the children until a final order is reached may help avoid arguments in the meantime. Temporary child support can also be set up as well; along with the parenting time outline, doing so may help lend stability throughout the proceedings. A family law attorney can help draw up these agreements early in the proceedings before the final orders are entered.
For Massachusetts parents who may have been delaying — or even avoiding – divorce out of fear for how it might affect their children, methods for a child-centered divorce may provide some much-needed peace of mind. A family law attorney with experience in divorce and child custody cases can help any concerned individuals explore various legal options. A lawyer will have the skills and knowledge to help make sure the entire process is as stable and healthy as possible for both parent and child.
Source: The Huffington Post, “7 Secrets For A Child-Centered Divorce“, Bari Zell Weinberger, Feb. 24, 2017