Divorce and Children
- The parent with the children might be afraid that there won’t be enough money to live on or that the other parent will take the kids and not bring them back.
- The parent without the children might be afraid of not getting to see them regularly.
If you break up with no agreement or understanding for how children will be supported or how they will have contact with both parents, this can create anxiety that will drive a parent into a lawyer’s office, thus dragging your family into court. You don’t want this to happen.
For the good of your children, yourselves, and your futures, it is essential that you each reassure the other that your own personal problems will not interfere with the children having regular contact with both parents and that they will have enough support to live on, as close as you can afford to the way the did before your breakup.
You can both calm your concerns by making a temporary agreement with a schedule for when each parent will have the care of the children and how they will be supported. The agreement should be in writing and can be described as temporary for a certain number of months or until you make a full and final settlement.
Too upset? If one or both of you are too upset to work on terms yourselves, maybe you can agree to try mediation instead of a more destructive and expensive court battle. See Who Can I Call?
Meanwhile, read Make Any Divorce Better and work toward building the foundation that will enable you to negotiate or mediate arrangements for parenting and support.
Focus on what’s best for your child
The essential things for children are
- To establish a new routine that is safe and comfortable,
- To keep them away from the stress between their parents,
- To have quality contact with their other parent on a regular schedule that is appropriate for the child’s age, and
- Most of all, your child needs you to be OK.
Now is a good time to read Tips for Getting Kids Through a Tough Time.
Tools that can help
- Give your spouse a copy of Make Any Divorce Better
- Child support: How much?
- Worksheets The package includes everything you need to organize your facts, your documents and your thoughts—Personal History, Income and Expenses, Parenting Plans, a Parenting Reality Check and a Sample Settlement Agreement. Before you reach an agreement, you exchange these worksheets with each other to show there was full disclosure before your agreement was signed.
- DealMaker – Settlement agreement software. Guides you through every step of making a sophisticated agreement then writes a draft agreement ready for signatures or review by an attorney-mediator. Includes worksheets for cases with or without minor children with both simple and detailed parenting plans and worksheets to help you work it out. DealMaker handles real estate and pension funds. Valid in every state.