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What you Need to Know About Divorcing with Kids

Unhappy family

Nearly half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce, and though it’s a common occurrence, that doesn’t make it any easier for the kids.

Each child will react differently to the news of their parent’s divorce— from anger and frustration to sadness and worry. If you are planning to get a divorce, it’s critical that you and your partner come together on issues regarding your kids to help them through this process.

How Divorce Affects Children

While divorce alone does not seem to have a significant adverse effect on children’s development, it can affect children who are exposed to a high amount of parental conflict. Oftentimes in a divorce, spouses become so wrapped up in their animosity with one another that it hurts their kids. It’s important for parents to keep their kids’ well-being at the forefront in a divorce to minimize any damage.

Parents should focus on maintaining a positive relationship, which will help kids feel secure in an uncertain period.

How to Tell Kids About Divorce

When the time comes to tell your kids about your divorce, you don’t want to freeze up mid-conversation. The best thing you can do to get them through this talk is to plan what to say before you sit them down. The more prepared you are, the better you will be able to deliver the news. Although each family will have their own way of handling a divorce, the following outline may help you:

  • Be honest and tell your kids the truth but in an empathetic tone. Don’t get into unnecessary details, but opt for something simple, like “We don’t get along anymore.”

  • Avoid playing the blame game or being critical of your spouse. Instead, you want to present a united front. Going along with this, assure your kids that they are not at fault for the ending of your marriage.

  • Encourage your children to talk about their feelings and really listen to their needs. Once you acknowledge their feelings, you will be able to help them through this process better.

Custody Arrangements

Divorces come with significant decisions, including determining child custody. In Tennessee, the types of custody include:

  • Physical custody: The legal right for a parent to have a child live with them

  • Legal custody: The legal right for a parent to make decisions about the child’s education and upbringing

  • Sole custody: When a single parent has custody of a child

  • Joint custody: When both parents legally share custody of their child

Understandably, your children will have questions about what’s going to change, if they need to move, and who they’re going to live with. Whatever arrangement you and your spouse choose, your child’s needs should be considered first.

In Tennessee, divorcing parents will submit a Permanent Parenting Plan, which will cover parenting responsibilities, the allocation of child support, a residential schedule, and visitation. The best parenting plan should be detailed and keep the children’s priority in mind at all times.

If you and your spouse cannot agree on a custody arrangement, the courts will make a decision. Ideally, they like to have both parents involved in a child’s life, but they will determine a custodial arrangement based on the best interests of the child. These laws are multi-layered and can be confusing at a glance, but we are here to help you navigate you through these challenging times.

Filing for Divorce? Peterson White, LLP is Here to Help

Divorce is a highly emotional and challenging process to endure, especially when children are involved. Our dedicated team of attorneys is here to guide you through each step so that you and your loved ones can move forward with the next chapter in your life with confidence.

Take the first step in your divorce today and call us at (855) 919-4124 to schedule a consultation.