For couples going through a divorce, understandably, one of the biggest areas of concern is going to the well-being of their children. Divorces can be difficult for adults and especially challenging for children to grasp emotionally.
Determining with whom the child is going to live with while the divorce is pending is one of the first things parents should take into consideration. Generally, spouses should request a Temporary Orders Hearing and allow for the court to decide. In a temporary hearing, evidence is provided and testimony is heard to make a decision on temporary child custody.
However, to avoid the emotional toll of a custody battle, parents can agree with who will keep the children.
Ultimately, the child’s best interests, wants, and needs should be weighed heavily to make a decision on this end. It’s also vital that parents do everything they can to help their children cope with a divorce.
Let your Houston divorce attorneys for high-net-worth individuals help you better understand how you can support your children during this especially trying time.
A Basic Overview of Temporary Custody Orders in Houston, Texas
Temporary custody orders affect:
- The child’s rights
- The type of conservatorship is best for your child
- Visitation rights for parents
- Child support
During a temporary orders hearing, the court will hear about the abilities of both parents to effectively care for their children and make a determination about who the primary parent is to be. Generally speaking, the primary parent is the parent who will have the right to decide where the child lives and other aspects of the child’s life.
Of course, these initial proceeds can easily get heated and parents may lose focus on the importance of their child’s well-being. In these initial stages of divorce, parents can help children by:
- Keeping conflict, heated conversations, and legal talk away from the children.
- Avoiding disruptions to daily routines.
- Remaining involved in the child’s life and extracurricular activities and hobbies.
- Restricting negativity and adult conversations to outside the home away from the children.
How to Break the News About Divorce to Your Children
Talking to your children about divorce is surely one of the most difficult conversations you will have in your life, but by preparing beforehand and anticipating questions, you’ll be better equipped to break the news.
When it comes to breaking the news, you’ll want to be honest but empathetic and also age-appropriate. Key points to address include:
- The truth about the divorce: Be honest and let them know that you and your spouse are no longer “getting along.” It’s best to keep things simple without getting into in-depth explanations.
- Remind them that you love them: Children may not readily understand that parents may fall out of love, but it’s essential to remind them that as a parent, you never stop loving your children.
- Avoid blaming: As an adult, you need to try your best to be tactful and avoid talking badly about your other spouse, even in situations such as infidelity. Be respectful at all times.
- Admit to changes: Acknowledge that things will be different and other things won’t be, and that they’ll have a chance to give their input into important decisions.
- Be age-appropriate: Generally, younger children need a simpler explanation while older children may ask for more.
Helping Your Children Cope With a Divorce
There are a wide variety of strategies and means by which to help your children cope with the toll of a divorce. As a parent, you can help your children to adjust to their new situation by allowing them to express and deal with their emotions, and you can do so by following these guidelines:
- Listening is key: Allow your children to share their feelings, and perhaps even more importantly, make sure you actually listen to them. Address any concerns they may have and be a good listener, even if it’s hard to hear what they have to say.
- Help them put their emotions into words: Sometimes young children have difficulty expressing themselves verbally, but they may show it in their behavior. If you notice they may be sad or angry, talk to them about their emotional state and help them put their feelings into words.
- Acknowledge their feelings: While you may not be able to easily make your children feel better, acknowledging their emotions and validating all their experiences can let them know that their feelings are okay.
- Let your children know they aren’t to blame: Unfortunately, children may believe they are to blame for the divorce, so it is essential that you let them know it is not their fault. Let them know the truth (as much as possible) about your reason for separating, be patient with your child’s confusion, and reassure them that you love them regardless of how you feel about their mom or dad.
- Provide stability and routine: Children need routine and stability in their early years, and divorces can put a strain on this. While some flexibility is required for a divorce, creating regular routines and maintaining previously established traditions (i.e. Friday movie night) can help to create a sense of calm and stability.
- Keep yourself healthy. While so much attention may be paid to your children, parents may fail to take care of themselves, either physically or mentally. But failing to do so can have detrimental effects. Find ways to handle your stress and take care of your own needs so that you have the strength – emotionally and physically – to take care of your kids.
- Get help if you need it. Remember, you do NOT have to go through your divorce alone. Find support groups, talk to friends and family who have gone through divorces of their own, or seek guidance from religious leaders. It’s also recommended to seek out professional medical or counseling support from therapists, counselors, or doctors if you or your children need it.
- Cooperate with your ex-spouse. In instances where you can remain cordial with your ex-spouse, avoid fighting or arguing in front of your children. You can also sit down as parents and cooperate to ensure children aren’t getting mixed messages on important aspects of their life.
Houston Divorce Attorneys Here to Help With Your Child Custody Claim
Our Houston divorce attorneys are well-versed in child custody issues and divorces; that’s why we know how to make a tough situation easier for your family. Our goal is to help you get through this challenging moment in life without as little issue and trouble as possible.
Your experienced legal team at the Law Offices of Douglas Ray York, P.C., is ready to help you and take care of your children.