An overwhelming number of divorces in the state of Florida and in the country involve parents who are divorcing, and they have minor children together. Now, a divorce proceeding can be, doesn’t have to be, but it can be a very vile and hatred type of proceeding. Oftentimes people are throwing stones, casting aspersions against each other, calling them names because they’re just so bitter and upset. They may be warranted in being upset and bitter with their spouse but when children are involved, you have to be very, very careful. You have to remember that your spouse is your child’s parent. What you say about their parent, in their presence can impact them for life, can impact your relationship with them. One of the key things that we look at and try to do is protect children of parents who are going through a divorce.
So how do you do it? One is, you recognize that at some point you actually loved your partner. You actually decided we are going to have a family, we have children, and you need to recognize that those children still probably love the other parent, your spouse. Having communications concerning your divorce and your divorce proceedings should never, ever, ever run through your children. Issues involving the children, like tell your dad this or tell your mom that, should not happen. You need to try to keep the children out of it and to do that you need to be able to communicate with your spouse through the process. Maybe you need to use text messaging. Maybe you need to use a parent communication. There are a few apps out there available for communicating through divorce proceedings. Maybe you need a third party to help communicate with your spouse, but that third party under no circumstance should be your children.
You certainly shouldn’t ask your children what they want. So, if you’re in a custody or parent time sharing battle with your spouse, asking the kids who do they want to live with and do they want to do that only puts them in a position of having to choose. That’s a very difficult position to put your kids in, one that they will probably resent you for later on down the line, and it can make your divorce proceeding very, very rocky and very expensive.
By all means, do what you can to protect your children, shield them from the divorce proceeding. Now, you probably have to tell them you’re getting a divorce, but don’t involve them. Don’t even let them overhear conversations that you have about it, whether it’s with friends, family members, or even your attorney. Don’t bring the kids to the courthouse. Don’t bring the kids to the lawyer’s office. In Florida, most jurisdictions require parents who are divorcing, parents of minor children, to take what’s called a parent stabilization course. It’s designed to teach parents how to behave while going through a divorce, and it’s designed to protect the kids. So even if you’re not ordered to take that course, it may benefit you to take that course, things you probably know, but may need to be reminded of.
If you can no longer live together with your spouse happily, and you have to get divorced, and you have minor children always, always keep your kids in mind going through the process. Even when you’re divorced from their parent, their other parent, they’re still going to have a relationship with them. You’re going to need to have some level of relationship in order to properly co-parent your kids so that they can end up the best they can, even if your marriage has fallen apart and needs to be dissolved.