There are many decisions you’ll need to make before any divorce begins. Invariably, your kids will play a major role in the timing of your divorce. Having children in the mix always complicates the divorce process, so make decisions that are in the best interests of your kids under the circumstances after you’ve made an informed and objective evaluation of the entire situation. Here are some important issues to consider in planning a divorce when children are involved.
Have a General Plan
If you plan and prepare correctly, you can ease through the entire divorce process and avoid greater heartache for you, your spouse, and the children. You’ll also have a better chance of saving money. One outstanding option is avoiding lawyers and courts entirely by hiring divorce mediators. San Diego couples should definitely consider this alternative before divorce proceedings begin.
Ages of the Children
Of course, there’s no perfect age for children when the divorce process begins. Some experts believe a divorce will be too traumatic when the children are five to eleven years old. At such ages, they may develop a fear of being abandoned or that their parents are divorcing them. On the other hand, experts will also tell you it’s generally a bad idea to divorce shortly after children leave home for college or to start their careers. History shows that young adult children have great difficulty adjusting to their new lives outside the home after they’ve been given news of their parents’ divorce.
Remaining in a stormy marriage and waiting for the “right” age of your children for your divorce is one of the worst things you can do for your children’s wellbeing (as well as your own). Discuss your divorce intentions with your spouse and come up with a good plan that works best for both of you and your children based on the existing circumstances.
Evaluate your family’s financial situation and then determine the amount of money needed for your children’s support. Typically, the breadwinner of the family will be the one who provides the financial support for your children. However, both spouses should discuss finances before the divorce proceedings begin so the children’s financial welfare is taken care of throughout the divorce and into the future.
Custodial and Visitation Time
Decide the proper amount of time for you and your spouse to spend with your children to care for them in a way that’s in their best interests. If you do this in advance of the divorce, you’ll be better prepared for the divorce process and how it affects your relationship with your children, both during the divorce and after it’s finalized.
You’ll need to decide if you’ll be staying at the family residence or whether you or your spouse will move out. If you decide to relocate, you’ll want to stay near the family home to ensure you’ll have enough custodial time with the kids. You don’t want to be caught in a situation in which you have to prove to the court that you were only absent from the children for a short duration, that you’ve always made reasonable efforts to have regular contact with them, and that you had no intention to abandon them. Generally, it’s best to stay at the family residence unless it’s too emotionally difficult for you or your family, such as in a situation that poses any threat of physical or emotional abuse to you and/or your children.
Having children is one of the best reasons for couples to make the divorce process as smooth, respectful, and amicable as possible. If you and your spouse want an alternative to the acrimony, expense, and emotional rollercoaster ride of traditional divorce, the answer you’re seeking may be divorce mediation. San Diego couples can have every aspect of their divorces handled without needing to hire attorneys, go to court, or spend a small fortune. To learn more about how divorce mediation can be the best option for you and your family, call the expert mediators at Divorce Options San Diego today at (858) 281-2628.