Divorce is never easy, and often never more difficult than when there are children. Although watching their parents chronically fight is also stressful, divorce can upend a child’s life and cause many confusing emotions that can affect their emotional and social development.
Making efforts to minimize the effect that marital problems and possible divorce will have on your children means taking proactive measures. But the unique dynamics of each family situation, whether it is a history of domestic violence or irreconcilable differences, will also influence the outcome. Making the decision to end the marriage will benefit the children in long run, even if the divorce proceedings are stressful.
Looking out for signs of distress
The children of divorce are impacted differently depending on their age. Often, they feel angry. School-aged children are especially prone to this reaction, and they may also feel that they are to blame for the breakup.
Children who internalize sad and angry emotions as a result of divorce may withdraw from social settings and can develop a low self-image. Their grades may suffer, and as they watch their parents’ conflicts play out, they may engage in risky behaviors.
The cognitive dissonance of being placed in the middle and feeling they have to take sides can cause physical signs. While many of these signs develop during and after the divorce, it is above all important to maintain good communication with your child throughout the process, allowing them to prepare and understand the events as they unfold.
Younger children can suffer from separation anxiety, which may cause them to regress temporarily. They can benefit from a consistent routine and environment, but they will also need reassurance and the consistence presence of the primary custodial parent.
Understanding what is best for the children in North Carolina
North Carolina recognizes sole or joint legal and/or physical custody, as well as grandparent, or third party, visitation rights. When determining custody, the court will weigh factors based on what is in the best interest of the child. Some factors a judge will examine include:
- Each parent’s living arrangements and ability to provide a stable home environment to care for the child
- The child’s relationship with each parent
- The overall safety of the child
- A history of domestic violence
- The child’s wishes, if they have reached the “age of discretion”
If you are trying to create a new life for your family, experienced family law attorneys serving Monroe and throughout North Carolina can help you find workable options that will allow you to protect your children and your rights as a parent.