Nassau County Family Law Blog

Friday, December 25, 2015

Protecting Children in a Divorce

What is the role of psychology in divorce?

In spite of the fact that divorce has become common in our society, children of divorce still suffer from mental and emotional problems. Some psychologists contend that divorce is not merely a temporary obstacle that children overcome, but rather a life-changing episode that affects their self-image and their view of the world.

The Emotional Damage of Divorce

For some children, divorce is not a single injury suffered in childhood, but a lingering wound that can last for years and, in some cases, follow them into adulthood. Children, however, do not suffer alone, as divorcing parents struggle to resolve feelings of failure, loss and abandonment. At the same time, children are believed to suffer ongoing feelings of insecurity and self-doubt because of absent parents.

These problems can be made worse in cases where parents overtly use the child as a pawn in fighting over child custody and visitation rights. While this is all too common, many parents also lay a guilt trip on their children for wanting to share time with the other parent. Children may also experience awkwardness after returning home from a weekend visit with the noncustodial parent. In the end, these issues can cause a child to falter at school or worse, turn to alcohol and/or drugs.

Protecting the children

There is a growing recognition that families can benefit from court-appointed therapy which often takes place as reunification counseling usually at the request of one parent’s lawyer, but some judges are proactive in making this decision. This is typically well-suited for situations where the relationship between a parent and child has been damaged or become estranged due to the divorce.

Utilizing court-ordered therapy can allow legal dilemmas to be solved emotionally and allow the parent and child adjust to the new circumstances. If divorce is inevitable, children can be protected from the emotional fall-out by this type of therapy.

Divorcing couples can also minimize the damage by doing what is in the best interest of the child. In some cases, divorce mediation is an alternative that may take some of the bitterness out of the process and allow the healing to begin before the damage is done. In any case, if you are considering a divorce, you should seek the advice of a qualified attorney.

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