For parents preparing to divorce, maintaining a positive relationship with a co-parent is extremely important for the well-being of children. In fact, children’s best interests should always be a priority, and you can begin to protect those interests by taking steps to keep your children out of your divorce. For separating spouses, mediation can keep the lines of communication open and increase the chances of maintaining a less adversarial relationship.
As you prepare to separate from your spouse, it is important to remember that the other parent will always be in your child’s life. The relationship that children have with their parents will shape their views of the world and determine how they will conduct themselves in their own future relationships.
Negative talk about the other parent is hurtful and confusing to your child. Remember, you may not have feelings for your soon to be ex-spouse, but your child still loves them. Although many of us believe we would not stoop to the level of negative talk, parents often unknowingly discuss the other parent while the child is within earshot. Arguments with the ex-spouse on the telephone might also be overheard.
Healthy Relationship Tips for Children
Allow your child to maintain healthy relationships with the other parent and all extended family members. Make every effort to:
- Allow your child uninterrupted time spent with the other parent. Try not to schedule sports, doctor’s appointments, or play dates during visitation times.
- Let children talk to the other parent via phone, text messages, or emails when they are with you. A simple good night or a happy birthday phone call from the other parent can go a long way.
- Do not interrogate the child about what occurred at the other parent’s home or use your child’s relationship with the other parent to get information.
- When two parents separate, there may be a tendency to covet the time the other parent and his or her relatives has with your children. However, it is important that children are given opportunities to interact with extended family members, such as grandparents, uncles, and cousins.
Child Support in Mediation
The purpose of child support is to ensure the financial needs of children are being met by both parents; but it has another purpose that is often overlooked. Child support shows kids that their parents still love them and want to care for them.
Moving forward under this premise may make it somewhat easier to come to an agreement that both parents are comfortable with. However, determining child support can be very difficult, and during the difficult process of mediating the end of a marriage, it may be hard to stay amicable while doing so.
When considering mediation, ensure that the process runs more smoothly by consulting with an experienced child support lawyer first. Attorneys know how to calculate the true costs of raising children in New Jersey and can help parents enter mediation with realistic expectations. Knowing what to expect and what you should be negotiating for can make all the difference for both you and your children.