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Co-Parenting, A Way to Make Divorce Easier on the Kids

People generally get married with the intention that they will stay together forever. They plan to find the perfect home in the perfect Georgia neighborhood, fill it with laughing children and live happily ever after. Real life is not a perfectly scripted fairytale and often things happen, people change and many marriages end in divorce for one reason or another. It can be a stressful time full of confusing emotions and instability.

When children are involved, it is important to remember that even though they are not the ones who are getting divorced their entire world is changing too. Going from a home with two parents to single parents living in two homes can be confusing enough for them, and when the parents they love are fighting or there is no continuity between their separate home environments, adaptation can be a struggle for them. Co-parenting is one way to make the transition easier and provide children with the stability that they subconsciously crave.

One couple had been married for nearly 17 years before they decided to file for divorce, but decided that they did not want their children to suffer during the trying time. "I wanted to be a positive influence for my two children," the mother said. "Even though emotions were raw, I didn't want to be irrational because of disappointments that the marriage didn't work out."

The two parents decided to implement co-parenting together and began their efforts by communicating positively, trying to leave any "divorce" issues out of conversations involving the children. Communication about rules, schedules, punishments and everyday occurrences in the child's life can create the stability that they need. The couple also gave their children a letter that answered questions about the divorce and the future, letting them know that they were loved equally by both parents even though they would not live together anymore.

Source: Chicago Tribune "Successful co-parenting" Jenniffer Weigel 10/26/10

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