Divorcing with children is hard on both parents and children. That said, couples with irreconcilable differences are usually advised not to stay together just for the children’s sake. Kids are more intelligent than we often think and can sense if one or both parents are miserable in a relationship. This situation is not healthy for anyone.
Divorce is not easy on anyone, but extra care should be taken to ensure that children know that both parents love them. They should feel safe to talk about their feelings regarding the divorce and new living arrangements without fear of anger from their parents.
Where this often gets complicated is when a child asks questions about why the divorce happened. The best answer to this depends on the child’s age and level of emotional development; but, no child needs to know the full details of any divorce.
Post-divorce, many parents have the urge to try to get information about the ex-spouse from the child. It is highly inappropriate, except in situations where the child might be at risk for abuse. Parents need to maintain a mature outlook and realize that the child should not ever be pressured to "pick sides."
An amicable divorce procedure requires that both spouses agree about child custody arrangements. A couple can obtain a final decree only after addressing all child-related issues. In most cases, a joint decision regarding children is much more beneficial to the family than a decision made by third parties (such as judges and lawyers).
Parents of a minor child can discuss and make their own choices about the following questions:
Most online divorce services deal with the above issues and have child custody forms. Some of them also offer a child support calculator that determines how much financial support each parent must provide to their children.
All courts welcome joint custody where both parents have equal rights and responsibilities. In joint physical custody, a child can take turns living with each parent for a considerable amount of time. Joint legal custody means that parents make decisions about vital aspects (education, healthcare, etc.) together. If the judge finds that joint caretaking is not in the child’s best interest, they will award sole custody to one parent.
During negotiations, spouses should create a parenting plan that includes all their terms. Parenting plans are included in divorce decrees and have to be submitted to the court for approval. Uncontested divorces with child custody issues might take a little longer than childless cases. Since children’s best interests are considered a priority in all states, judges will take extra care in considering child-related arrangements.
Uncontested cases can go to a custody hearing. A couple may need to attend one if a judge wants to clarify some information and ask spouses a few questions. At the hearing, a judge reviews the parenting plan and approves (or declines) all negotiated terms in the settlement agreement.
An uncontested divorce is undoubtedly the easiest on both children and parents. Uncontested or amicable divorce essentially means that both parties can reach an agreement regarding the division of property and assets and child custody and support.
As you can imagine, the less struggle there is over issues pertaining to the children, and the less the children are aware of the strife between the parents, the better off they are.
Some contested divorces even require children to testify in court against one of their parents. Except in the most extreme cases where abuse is suspected, this has a detrimental impact on the child.
The animosity between parents is always heightened when the court is involved, which profoundly affects children whether they witness it or not.
Another reason an uncontested divorce is better for children is that it is always less expensive. Court fees, lawyer fees, lost time, transportation, babysitting, etc., all add up to a LOT of money.
Think of it as an investment in your children’s future by avoiding a contested divorce if possible.
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