Burke Levy, P.C.

Tips for Massachusetts parents: Minimizing the impact of divorce on kids

As a parent, you undoubtedly consider the well-being of your kids to be the most important thing in your life. Should you and the other parent decide to divorce, you probably have concerns about how the end of your marriage will affect your children.

One of your main objectives should be to negotiate a child custody agreement that respects your parental rights and protects the children's best interests. In the meantime, as the divorce and child custody matters proceed, there are some steps you can take to minimize the negative impact of the divorce on the kids.

Helping children deal with divorce

No matter how you look at it, ending a marriage is a stressful and daunting process for everyone involved. However, kids often find the concept of divorce particularly difficult to grasp. Here are some tips for helping children through this difficult time:

  • Speak to them:  While the kids certainly do not need to know all of the details of why you have chosen to end the marriage, the children will likely be better off if they have a general understanding of what is happening. By explaining the divorce to them in a manner they can grasp, you can prevent the children from drawing undue and unnecessarily painful conclusions. Appropriately communicating with the children about the divorce can also minimize their confusion and uncertainty.
  • Provide reassurances:  Kids often feel that the divorce is somehow their fault. Tell them it isn't -- and that you and the other parent will never stop loving them. Tell the children this multiple times -- and at appropriate times.
  • Shield them from parental conflict:  Divorce is a highly emotional process, and disputes are bound to occur. However, subjecting the kids to any level of parental conflict can be harmful to them. Shielding them from any parental arguments or negative speech is important for their well-being. Also, it is important never to use the children as messengers to the other parent, and never to alienate the children from the other parent. Kids need the love and support of both parents in their lives.

For more on child custody arrangements in Massachusetts, please see our custody and visitation overview.

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