The Impact of Divorce on Children: Tips for Divorcing Parents

If you are approaching divorce in Tennessee, you might be concerned about how this turbulent event will affect your children. This a common source of stress among parents, and you may be wondering how to limit any negative effects for your children. While it is true that divorce can take its toll on your young ones, there are many things you can do to mitigate these issues. You should know that most children recover from the impact of divorce to live happy, healthy lives. As a parent, there are a few priorities to keep in mind as you improve their mental health while simultaneously laying the legal groundwork for a positive outcome. 

What Do Psychologists Say About the Effect of Divorce on Children?

Divorce is one of the most studied subjects in the field of child psychology – and for good reason. Modern psychologists understand that divorce can be one of the most life-altering moments in a child’s life – and they have been trying to understand the details of this issue for decades. Although some of their findings may be concerning for parents, psychologists also provide plenty of helpful, encouraging pointers. 

Perhaps the most commonly repeated conclusion is that children should maintain regular contact with both parents after a divorce. No matter what you may think about your ex, studies show that the average child has better mental health outcomes when they stay in touch with both parents. Ultimately, this means that shared or joint custody is the most logical choice if you want to prioritize mental health for your young ones. 

Note that shared custody is not always the best choice if one ex is dangerous or abusive. These studies simply indicate that, on average, children have better mental health outcomes if they remain in close contact with both parents after the divorce. Each family also has unique factors to consider, such as distances between family homes and various parenting schedules. For example, a child may still get enough regular contact with a parent even if they only see them every other weekend. 

Psychologists also suggest that children exhibit more stable mental health outlooks if their parents cooperate after divorce. In other words, a somewhat amicable divorce can lessen the psychological detriments associated with an ending marriage. While this is not always possible, there are many things parents can to do remain professional and cordial. 

The worst-case scenario is probably something called “parental alienation.” This is when parents encourage their children to take sides. This may also involve telling a child that the other parent is evil, and it may even involve telling lies about the other parent. When children are forced to determine which parent is “good” or “bad,” the psychological trauma can be intense. 

How to Limit the Negative Effects of Divorce for Children

Parents are the most qualified individuals to make decisions about the best interests of their own children, and no judge will ever have as much inside knowledge as you when it comes to your kids. That being said, there are a number of steps you can take in the legal world that could lead to more positive outcomes for your young ones. 

The first step is to consider joint physical custody. Although this is not always easy for parents to accept, most psychologists agree that it is in the best interests of the children. Speak with your custody lawyer in Tennessee about how to pursue this type of outcome. The good news is that joint custody is very common in the modern era, and the family courts are likely to approve this type of agreement. 

In fact, it is only when one parent starts to pursue sole physical custody that things become complicated. Usually, this process becomes highly combative and adversarial – and litigation is almost inevitable. As noted, this friction between parents can make psychological issues worse for children – and parents should consider alternative dispute-resolution methods if possible. 

Fortunately, there are many dispute resolution methods that allow you to work together in a productive way. More importantly, these methods help you avoid time-consuming, expensive trials. Better yet, your children may feel encouraged to hear that their parents are cooperating together behind closed doors rather than fighting it out in court. Some of the most popular dispute resolution methods include mediation and collaborative law. Speak with your lawyer for more information about these methods. 

The findings from psychological studies also suggest that parents should avoid parental alienation if at all possible. Not only will this affect your child’s mental health in a negative manner, but it may also lead to poor legal outcomes. Family courts in Tennessee do not take kindly to parental alienation, and they may consider it when awarding custody during litigation. If they find out that one spouse has been sabotaging their child’s relationship with the other parent, this ill-advised tactic could backfire spectacularly. In fact, it could cause the “guilty” parent to lose custody of their children. 

At the end of the day, one of the most important priorities for divorcing parents who care about their children should be positive communication. Even if parents feel very bitter about the divorce, it is still possible to communicate in a professional, cordial manner. If talking on the phone tends to lead to arguments, consider a concise email instead. If that fails, you can always communicate through your lawyers. 

Find a Qualified Child Custody Lawyer in Nashville

If you have been searching for an experienced child custody lawyer in Nashville, look no further than the Burdine Law Firm. We know how concerned you must be about how divorce will affect your children, and we can guide you toward positive mental health outcomes for the entire family. If you approach the legal aspects of your divorce in an efficient, streamlined manner, you can expect positive results. That being said, each custody process is slightly different – and each family is unique. While online research cannot provide personalized guidance, you can discuss your family’s specific priorities during a consultation with us today. Reach out to our specialized Nashville family law lawyers today to get started.