Whatever the reasons and circumstances of the divorce, children are perhaps the most affected individuals in the entire deal. Just have a look at this graph how much children are now affected by divorce in comparison to the previous century!
First of all, it is difficult for them to understand why things suddenly changed and one of the parents does not live with them anymore. Some children often take the blame upon themselves and think that it’s their fault, which may necessitate psychological help. Others accuse either the parent who leaves them or both, openly demonstrating their indignation and even hatred toward the adults. Pre-teens and teenagers often start exhibiting disruptive behaviors in such cases, which has a negative influence on their conduct at school, relations with peers and teachers, and academic performance.
Another problem connected with divorce and children in a family is the necessity for them to live between two houses, spending time with the two parents separately. Such a change in the scenario of their habitual life raises a myriad of questions and causes considerable psychological strain in the first place. On the other hand, switching houses may entail a number of inconveniences related to some routine daily chores and keeping track of things they need to take to another house for the weekend but may easily forget about. Besides, many children are very concerned with their social image among classmates and the attitudes they evoke in their peers. Therefore, the additional burden for them is how to present and explain the fact that now they are children with two homes.
In This Article
Children’s Interests Make the Divorce Decision Harder
Despite common sentiments that it may be easier to divorce with kids of some particular age, the task can be similarly difficult even for couples whose children live separately with families of their own. Every age category has specific characteristics that may complicate the process of discussing and explaining the fact, reasons, and consequences of the parents’ splitting. Moreover, each case is unique, and everything would greatly depend on the children’s individual peculiarities and personalities. In any case, the aim of every divorcing couple is to ensure that their separation is as smooth and painless for their kids as possible.
Of course, everything can be easier when children do not have to leave their usual homes. Still, they will need to travel back and forth between the two houses of the separated parents. Thus, it is necessary to reasonably settle all the disputes of divorcing couples over kids house now to make this issue at least a little bit easier for them in the future.
Taking Care of Child Living Arrangements after Divorce
Whether you opt for an uncontested divorce or go through a tiresome trial in court, you will need to reach a lot of settlement agreements concerning property division, spouse support, alimony, child custody, and other issues. So, it is important to make accurate decisions to avoid any possible disputes later. If you decided to divorce on your own and settle everything amicably without attorneys or trial procedures, make sure to file the proper papers, considering your location and all the accompanying circumstances. Nowadays, online divorce is a reality, a procedure that can make the entire process much quicker and even cheaper. Besides, numerous services can be handy in case of a DIY divorce. For example, you can easily find California divorce forms and even get a consultation from the family law facilitator on a specialized website.
The second step is to consider all the child’s living arrangements after divorce. A good decision is to involve your kids in the process and discuss every issue with them if they are old enough to make their input. Such arrangements will make the new mode of living at least a little bit easier for your kids. Issues to consider include the general organization of the process and settings in the two houses, daily routines, and living spaces for children.
Consider the aspects of both parents’ activities, schedules, workloads, as well as locations:
- Who spends more time at home?
- Who is mostly at work or driving around the city?
- Who lives closer to school?
The answers to these and similar questions can help to decide where it would be more convenient for your children to spend more time, who will get them to school or to the after-school activities and take them back home, and how often they will see each of you and other relevant issues.
Make sure that all the essential personal items are always present in both houses. Ensure the presence and availability of important clothes like trainers and pajamas, underwear, toiletries, nappies, bed linens, medicines, sports equipment, toys, plates, cups, etc. This will make the process of switching houses somewhat easier for children when they do not need to pack everything necessary every time they move.
Nevertheless, it might be necessary to make lists of the “not-to-forget” items, at least at the initial stage. These may include favorite toys, special blankets or pillows, older children’s textbooks and homework, medicines, and even a hamster.
For younger children, it is important to have a set schedule for taking meals, cleaning, washing, and going to bed. Make sure that the timing of all these routines is similar in both houses. Older children can adjust to any differences better as long as there are clear and exact rules and you have appropriate conversations with them on the matter.
It is very important for a child to have a place of their own. Make sure they have it in both homes. A separate room is the best option of course. Even if there is no extra bedroom in one of the parents’ houses, create a special place for your child where they can store their things.
Again, all these issues must be discussed with the young ones and adjusted according to their preferences and desires in the first place for them to accept their new status of children with two homes. It is important for both parents to be involved and interested in the positive outcome. Do not forget that certain adjustments and rearrangements might be necessary as children get older and change their schooling and social commitments.
Nesting is the Best Option
So-called “nesting” is a recently emerged concept that would be the best variant for children of a divorced couple. In this scenario, kids do not leave their usual home while parents switch between two houses instead. The main idea is to maintain a stable home for children, a place they know and love, with all their things in place and the usual daily routines and schedules. They do not need to switch houses and move the necessary stuff back and forth or get used to varied arrangements and organizations of the two different places. Instead, parents move in and out of their “nest”, taking turns in caring for the kids. They may have two different homes to move away from or share one place to save on rent, but the children live in their usual environment, preserving the consistency of their living with one small difference: there is only one parent around. Unfortunately, such an option is only possible if both partners have understood the necessity to divorce and separated amicably.
The Final Say
Children are the main aspect people consider when deciding to get divorced. They are the reason a lot of couples keep on living together against all odds, even when it gets unbearable and even dangerous. Unfortunately, the popular stance “preserve the family for children” can often only harm the young ones, which is the topic of another article. We do not instigate separations, but we insist that issues concerning divorce and children must be considered thoroughly and arranged reasonably. While there is no easy way in such a situation, you can make it a bit more pleasant for your kids.