Children are resilient, but divorce is hard on them. You can help your children cope by minimizing the negative impact.

Regardless of your children’s ages, you need to communicate about what’s happening, since it affects their lives too. Agree to talk to your kids together. Agree on how it will be done, where it will be done, and what you will say. Present a united front and try to answer their questions as well as possible, without divulging unnecessary adult information. Kids are smart, and they probably already know something’s up. They deserve to hear that their parents will continue to love and support them and that everything will be OK. Remember that although your marriage is dissolving, your role as parents will continue. Be patient with your children throughout the process, as their emotional reactions will vary. Do your best to provide a stable, positive and loving environment, and together explain whenever a change in routine or living arrangement is to occur. Do not disparage the other parent or talk about adult business within earshot of your children. You have to find a way to co-parent that supports and serves your kids’ best interests.

When discussing issues concerning custody parental access, think about where your kids will spend most of their time: where they go to school, where they take dance and karate and other extra-curricular activities. Think about whether they have any special needs and how you’ll care for them, how you’ll cover any private school or college costs, and where they’ll spend birthdays, holidays, and special occasions. Remember that even though your children may be small today, as they grow up your roles as parents will change. You may have to consult with each other on important life decisions such as medical needs, or see each other at milestones like graduations, weddings, and the birth of your grandchildren. Learning to effectively co-parent early on will help you years down the road.A Family Mediator can help you build communication and conflict resolution skills during their sessions so that post-mediation, you can co-parent effectively in the future.

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