Monmouth County parents going through a divorce likely worry about the effect the divorce is having on their child. A child’s way of processing the divorce will vary based on the child’s age and the child’s current relationship with each parent. There are ways parents can help their children understand the divorce process so they can move forward on solid footing.
The types of custody in New Jersey
Parents going through a divorce will have to come to an agreement on legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody gives a parent the right to make key life decisions on behalf of the child. Oftentimes parents share joint legal custody. If so, they will need to agree on topics such as where the child will go to school, what doctors the child will see and what religion the child will participate in.
Physical custody involves where the child will live on a day-to-day basis. Sometimes physical custody is shared. If this is not feasible or desirable, then one parent will have sole physical custody and the other parent will have visitation periods with the child. What is important is that parents take the time to consider what is in the best interests of the child before making any child custody decisions.
How to support your child throughout the divorce process
Parents should be honest about their divorce and give the children the truth on a level the child can understand based on the child’s age and maturity. Explain the new child custody arrangements but reassure your child that you both love them and are always there for them. Reassure the child that the divorce is not their fault.
If possible, parents should create a parenting plan that outlines schedules, transportation between homes, how the parents will communicate with each other and how the child will communicate with each parent. Co-parenting is more effective if parents agree about the details of how they will implement their child custody arrangements. And, when parents can communicate and cooperate in a beneficial way, they can avoid causing their child to experience further stress surrounding the divorce.
Keep the focus on the child’s best interests
When making child custody decisions it is key that the focus is always on the child’s best interests. By prioritizing the child, it is possible to make decisions that help ease the stress of the divorce process for all involved.