Anyone who has dealt with family issues in court knows that they can be an absolutely draining experience.  Litigation is exhausting enough but the emotional aspect of litigating parenting issues compounds the discomfort.  One of the most devastating family law issues to deal with is child custody and parenting time which determine how the child will live between both parents/guardians. 

At Kecskes, Gadd, & Parker Law, we have dealt with countless cases of this nature. With this experience and knowledge, we want to offer some tips for parents and guardians to use to cope during their process. If you or someone you know is dealing with the issue of family law and child custody, use the tips in our latest blog.

Be Open With Your Children

Children may be naïve, but if your family is involved in a child custody dispute, children will pick up on cues.  With a mindfulness of the needs of your own children, it is often best to be open and honest with them about the process and what comes next in general terms.  It will be difficult for some children to understand why and the message must make clear it is not any fault of the children.  Be upbeat and positive that both of you love the children but are just having some disagreements and need some help making decisions.

As for the process involved, keep it simple, especially with younger children.  When you hide information, children may notice a disconnect and fill in the gaps themselves, elevating their anxiety and picturing scenarios involving never seeing one parent, changing schools, or moving far away.  Despite your own uncertainties and worries, present a positive outlook for your children.  Remember, they are children and helpless in navigating the adult world of divorce and custody/parenting time disputes.  They need the reassurance of both parents’ love and support.  Obviously, the younger the children, the less they will know, but it still helps to give them a sense of what is happening. 

If you are still on good terms with the other parent, it may be best to work together to explain the intricacies of the situation to your children. If you are able to work together, it can mean a large difference for the child or children involved.  Try not to be negative about the other parent around your children.  Children internalize these derogatory statements or inferences since they belong to both of you.  Your criticism is personal to them since they are a part of both of you.  Tell your children to come to you if they have any questions.  Validate their feelings and tell them you love them.

Work With A Therapist If Possible

While many parents are able to deal with this issue on their own, getting help from a therapist is advisable in many cases. The complexity and heartbreak of this situation are often devastating for clients, but a qualified therapist can help you cope with the difficulties of this time. Therapists are great at helping you understand and process the feelings you have, as well as help, recognize any unconscious feelings as well. When your family is being separated, it can feel like the world is ending, but a qualified therapist can help put things into perspective.  Do not underestimate the emotional toll of a divorce.  

Therapy may also be considered for children.  Children, while resilient, have their own emotional needs during family conflicts and often do not have these met for fear of burdening either parent.  A therapist can be a good outlet for a child to express their feelings.  There are also family therapists available that can work with the entire family.  

Remember, when the ink dries on the Judgement of Divorce or any parenting time/custody modification, this does not end your interactions with your former spouse.  Long after your children turn eighteen, you two remain their parents and there will be adult interaction at a plethora of life events.  No one will love your children as much as you two.  That common ground can hopefully lead to peaceful co-parenting for the rest of your lives.

Hire A Qualified Lawyer

Our last and most important step is to hire a qualified lawyer to work on your case.  Someone who you can trust and will have your  Family law can be complicated depending on the case, so it is crucial that you use the very best for your case. Not only are great family law lawyers well versed in the law, but they also are great at helping clients through the child custody process. Especially in cases dealing with child custody/support, you will want only the best by your side. 

At KGP Law, we’ve spent decades helping Michigan families deal with difficult issues, and we’ll continue to do it for many more years. If you or someone you know is in need of legal assistance, contact KGP Law to get started today!  We pride ourselves on our availability and accessibility to our clients as we appreciate the emotional toll of custody and parenting time disputes. 

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