“Family is not an important thing; It is everything” – Michael J. Fox
Families come in all shapes and sizes. They each have different family traditions, favorite vacation spots, favorite Friday night restaurants, and that one crazy Uncle. Children are inherently developed based on the identity of their family, and their sense of self stems from their family roots.
Whether a family is made up of a mom and dad, two moms, two dads, two adopted parents, or two grandparents, children see this family structure as the norm, and they are naturally happy with the dynamic. In their eyes, their family is perfect, and there is nothing that can change that.
We need to make sure that nothing can change that, not even a divorce or separation.
When parents realize their relationship is no longer working, they are likely going through a hard time and have many worries in terms of how their own lives will be after the separation, let alone their children’s lives.
For the majority of parents who want the best for their children, their minds start racing:
How are we going to tell them?
I do not want my kids to have to move
There is no way I am living apart from my kids
I do not want the kids to think it is their fault
The court process is the last thing I want my kids exposed to
I want the kids to have a stable family
HOW are we going to tell them???
Just because a marriage is ending, it does not mean that a family is ending. Though you may think it is cliché, the importance of letting the kids know “this does not mean we love you any less” is an extremely important thing to say when telling them you are getting a divorce.
A healthy transition is key for all family members during this difficult time, and how you carry out the divorce process will affect the rest of your lives physically, mentally, and financially.
Every choice you make, starting from making the decision to divorce to signing the divorce papers, will have a direct effect on the family as a whole. A good place to start is deciding if you are going to go through the courts, or choose an alternate method for agreeing on a separation agreement and parenting plan.
If you are asking yourself these questions, here are some resources that may help: