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Things Your Child May Want From You After a Divorce

Posted by attorney Charles Hofheimer

Parenting after divorce involves being tuned in to what your child needs during this challenging time. Your Virginia divorce may make it difficult for you to focus on much outside of your immediate responsibilities, but in the long run you and your children will benefit from taking the time to honor their changing needs.

For children, their parents’ Virginia divorce is a major life event. When they grow up, they will likely look back on their childhoods as being divided into two time periods; the years prior to their parents' divorce and the years after. This doesn't necessarily mean that the parenting after divorce years will be viewed negatively, but they will be different.

Some parents feel guilty about divorcing because they know how much it can affect their children, but studies show that kids' resiliency serves them well during their parents’ breakup.

While most kids will go through some emotional or behavioral trauma regardless of how you approach parenting after divorce, the majority grow up to be just fine and live happy lives. There are things parents can do to improve their child's post-divorce experience. In short, it's about putting your child's emotional needs first.

Be Civil and Cooperative with Your Ex

This means setting aside your impulse to lash out at your ex when the kids are around. It also means trying your best to remain civil with your ex so that the lines of communication stay open. Being able to talk things over is one of the key components of successful parenting after divorce. You don't ever want to use your children to hurt or spite your ex.

Some parents will use strategies that turn their children against the other parent, by making the other parent look like the “bad guy" so avoid:

· discrediting the other parent;

· denying him visitation;

· acting as though you are jealous of the child's relationship with him; and

· using the children as the middle men to carry messengers between you and your ex.

These are very damaging behaviors that your kids need you to avoid but they will likely be unable to put it into words. Kids can feel caught in the middle and forced to choose between the two people they love most. By hiring a Virginia divorce attorney, you can have help mediating if you feel like any of the aforementioned behaviors have been directed at you.

When Parenting after Divorce, Remind Your Children They are Loved

Tell them that they are safe and that the divorce was not in any way their fault. They will want to know what type of changes they can expect in their lives because of the divorce. They don't need to know all the details of your breakup, just the basics of what is happening and what will likely be happening in the near future.

After your Virginia divorce, be sure that your kids have adequate quality time with both you and your ex. Holidays, sports games, school events, even medical appointments are all opportunities to spend time together and for both parents to show the children that they are interested and invested in their lives.

It's not always possible to remain on good terms with your ex-husband; there are cases where he will not cooperate, or there was an abusive situation. If you find yourself in a situation like this, you should do your best to address your child’s needs despite the circumstances.

Contacting a Virginia Divorce Attorney

At this vulnerable time, it’s critical that you have exceptional legal representation that not only understands the specifics of your case, but is dedicated to your best interests and that of your family.

The Virginia divorce attorneys at Hofheimer/Ferrebee represent Virginia women who wish to file for divorce. We are committed to fighting for your rights, assisting in child custody disputes, and advocating that you receive everything you are entitled to and need in order to start your new life. You can learn more by requesting one of our FREE divorce guides for women, or reserving your seat at our monthly divorce seminar – 757-425-5200.

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