When the foundation of your family changes during a divorce, it can be tough transition for everyone. Most of all, it can be hard on the children.
Setting new boundaries while the ground is shifting is hard. Emotions are high, situations can change, and the relationship between you and your ex can become volatile. That doesn't change the fact that your children need you to be their parent.
They need you to do certain things that might not come naturally at first due to the highly stressful and emotional situation your family is in. They need you to avoid doing other things.
Here are some recommendations of what not to do during a divorce, particularly, if you are seeking custody of your children:
Don't share your anxiety and grief with your children. They are hurting too, and need you to be strong for them. Seek the support you need, but don't seek it from your children.
Don't speak negatively about your ex-wife when the children are in earshot. It's confusing for them, and can cause problems for all in the long run. Your ex-wife might be asking them what you said and using it in court. It also creates an unhealthy culture for your children.
Don't use your children as a go-between to your ex -wife for passing on messages or money. It doesn't matter how mad you are at your ex-wife or if she won't answer the phone. Writing emails allows you to think before you write and creates a record of your communication with your ex-wife.
Don't put your child in the middle of a dramatic custody battle if at all possible. It might be the case that your ex- wife is doing it, but taking the high road will be noticed by the courts and by your children.
Don't interfere with your ex-wife's visitation time if you have custody. If you would love to bring them camping during the summer, don't plan the trip for the weekend that your wife has parenting time. Don't allow her to interfere with your parenting time either.
Divorces bring a high level of uncertainty for everyone. It is natural to feel scared. It is important to seek the right support from the right places so that you can give the support you need to your children.
Remember when everything is shifting, your children need you to be steady.
If you may have questions about your current co-parenting arrangement or are fighting for your parental rights, it may be time to speak with a family law attorney who can understand your position and walk you through the process.