Children & Divorce

Presently the divorce rate is increasing at an astounding rate, and close to 50% of children are growing up in a single parent environment. Children need their parents in order for them to develop physically, mentally, and emotionally. If the bond between the parent and the child is broken, negative consequences can be a result and can be traumatic for a child.

What you need to know:

Emotional Aspects:

Introduction: Get a general overview of what children in divorce experience and how the parental relationship plays such a significant role.

Making the Best of It: When it comes to the children, divorce does not come with a how-to manual. Ending a marriage with children means the spouses face the new and perplexing reality of divorced parenting.

The Children Come First: Most parents strive to protect their children from the dislocations associated with a breakup, but to their dismay find the task a very difficult and challenging achievement.

Telling the Children You Are Getting Divorced: Telling the children that you are going to get divorced can be a very difficult obstacle to overcome, but it is something that must be done in order for the children to begin to accept this dramatic change in their lives.

Preparing Children for Divorce: When a couple decides to end the marriage, telling the children is without a doubt one of the most difficult steps. The logistics of the breakup - that is, which parent leaves, which parent stays in the family home, the timing - vary from couple to couple.

The Children's Perspective on Divorce: Sometimes it can be beneficial to look at things through "the eyes of a child." This helps to give the parent some perspective on how the child views things.

The Different Age Stages as They Relate to Divorce: How your children adjust is directly related to how you as the parent are adjusting to the divorce.

Helping Children During Divorce: During a divorce - the time between separation and the legal end of the marriage - the loss of established routines upsets the lives of everyone involved.

Short-Term Effect of Divorce on Children: To one degree or another, all children feel the short-term effects of divorce. In a low-conflict divorce, children may sense that their parents are not happy but not be particularly troubled by it, so when the parents announce their intention to part, the children lose their footing.

Long-Term Effect of Divorce on Children: Divorce is a fact of life. Every year, some 1.25 million marriages end in divorce, plunging over a million children under 18 into life in a broken family.

Creating and Understanding Parenting Plans: It is important for a family to design a parenting plan to insure a focused family environment.

Guidelines for Parents & the Rights of Children: When looking at the sticky subject of divorce and how the children are affected, one should consider that the correlation between the parent's coping skills and the child's coping skills is very different.

The Effects of Divorce on Children: Regardless of the situation, children often worry about what is going on in their lives, and they often see divorce as something very traumatic.

Managing Your Single Life With Children: You are now divorced so now what do you do? You start over.

Child Care: Today, child care is most commonly used by single parents who work or go to school during the day.

Children After Divorce: According to North Carolina State University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the short-term effects of divorce can be dealt with when parents jointly and cooperatively by resolving post-divorce conflict and anger.
Child Custody and Visitation:
Child Custody: The Wisdom of Solomon: Child custody, the arrangement divorcing parents make for the care and nurturing of unemancipated children, tests the wisdom of judges who must decide what is in the best interest of children when the parents cannot or will not.

Custody, Visitation & Child Support: Custody refers to the court-approved living arrangements of minor children, the legal supervision and protection of the child until he or she reached a majority, however that term is defined in a given jurisdiction. Custody is a coin with two sides -- legal and physical, and it is always subject to modification as circumstances change.

The Best Interests of the Child in Custody Decisions: The phrase the best interest of the child is the discretionary and foremost legal standard that pertains to support, visitation and custody. In marriage and family law and in divorce actions, all custody decisions must meet the best interest standard.

Children's Bill of Rights: The best interest of the children means what a judge says it means, but courts go to extraordinary measures to protect a minor child. For example, in many jurisdictions the judges tacitly or explicitly consider what is called "Children's Bill of Rights" in contested custody decisions.

Guardian Ad Litem - A Neutral Party: The guardian ad litem (GAL) is a court-appointed adult, usually a trained social worker, counselor, or other professional who represents the non-legal interest of minor children in a couple's divorce.

The Children's Wishes, Keeping Children Together: Not all states consider the wishes of a child when it comes to awarding custody. If a child's wishes are considered it is only at a certain age and at the discretion of the court.

Modification of Child Custody: Child custody is not set in stone. Courts sometimes modify custody when either of the parents request it with good cause. Modification leaves intact the general purpose of the order but amends its details.

The Custodial Parent - Usually the Mother: The custodial parent is the parent a child normally lives with, and often the one who makes legal decisions concerning the child if she has sole legal custody. When parents dispute custody, usually the courts award it to the mother.

The Noncustodial Parent - Usually the Father: The noncustodial parent is the parent who does not have physical custody of the child and who typically is paying child support for the child. In most divorces, the father becomes the noncustodial parent, who is sometimes called the NCP.

Visitation: When custody is split, one parent normally enjoys visitation. The terms and conditions of visitation are spelled out in a parenting plan, which in some jurisdictions is part of the divorce paperwork.

Child Relocation: Child relocation and child abduction are two frequent problems associated with child custody. Modern American life, with its abundant opportunities for fresh starts in a new place, means that minor children of a failed marriage often move.

Father's Rights: No facet of a divorce is more volatile than child custody, particularly when a child is removed a great distance from the home and the environment he or she knew when his or her parents were married.

Child Abduction: The abduction of children is a far more serious problem than child relocation because it involves criminal behavior by one parent, often the noncustodial parent, illegally taking or removing a child in defiance of a court order, either across state lines and abroad or both.

Custody Evaluations: A custody evaluation includes interviews, psychological testing and home visits often undertaken by a mental health professional who is called a guardian ad litem or court investigator.

Custody Law: When parents cannot agree about custody, state law guides judges in the placement of children in disputed custody cases. Custody laws are state specific. No lawyer can ever guarantee how a judge may apply custody law in any specific custody case.

How the Judge Decides: Child custody lawyers know that they can never guarantee the outcome of any disputed custody case. All manner of factors influence custody decisions. Smoking, school districts, athletics, religious differences, ages of the children.

Paternity: Sometimes the paternity of a child becomes a factor in child custody cases when the mother goes to court for child support of a child born out of wedlock.

Custody Battles: Nothing more clearly demonstrates the sadness and sorrow of divorce than battles over child custody, legal and physical. When Mom and Dad fight for their children, the children become caught in a crossfire known as a custody fight.

Abuse and Neglect: Child abuse happens when a parent or care giver of a minor child allows, inflicts or permits physical or sexual abuse or allows a situation where there is a risk of physical injury.

Going to Court: Child custody disputes -- whether they are part of divorce actions or stand alone cases -- can become exhausting and expensive. The actions involve allegations that cut to the core of human relations: that one person is unfit to be parent of a child he or she has produced.

Parental Abduction: One of the worst outcomes of an angry divorce happens when one spouse abducts the children from the custody of the other. Abduction of a child, the act of one parent, often the noncustodial parent, illegally taking or removing a child in violation of a court order, either across state lines and abroad or both, creates fear and misery in the lives of many children of divorce.
Types of Child Custody:
Legal and Physical Custody: At some point a judge may decide the terms of legal and physical custody. Legal custody means the legal right and responsibility to raise a minor child and to make decisions on her or his behalf.

Joint Physical Custody: Parenting in Divorce: Nothing taxes the wisdom of a family court judge so much as custody and visitation. When divorcing spouses do battle, generally they make war over the terms and conditions of the marital property settlement and/or child custody and visitation.

Shared or Joint Physical Custody: What it Means: Joint physical custody means both parents share physical possession of the child and both have an equal stake in making decisions about the child's welfare, education, health care and religion.

Joint Physical Custody: The Advantages: The obvious advantage of joint physical custody is that living in both households allows a child to maintain a strong relationship with both parents.

Joint Physical Custody: The Disadvantages: Joint physical custody is not without disadvantages. The child migrates between two homes, "never settled in one place." (Some parents avoid this by doing what is termed "nesting," whereby the child stays in the family home and the parents rotate their residency with him or her.

Joint Physical Custody: The Caveats: Joint physical custody demands a great deal from the former married partners. After all, it is something of a stretch to imagine that a couple whose marriage crashed can somehow rise to the heights to make cooperative parenting work.

Joint Physical Custody: Making it Work: When two women came before King Solomon to resolve a dispute about which of them was the real mother of a child, he suggested cutting the child in two.

Joint Physical Custody: The Cultural Politics: Men's and father's rights advocates argue that joint physical custody works to alleviate the inequalities of the traditional custodial-noncustodial parent routine, but many feminists contend that this argument masks an attempt by men to avoid paying child support.
Related Articles:
Testimony of Your Child
Practical Tips on Parental Conduct During and Following Divorce
Divorce and Holidays: Don't Fowl Out
Don't Divorce The Children
Good Communication During Divorce is Critical For Children
Many More Articles:
Custody & Visitation Articles
Child Support Articles
Parental Alienation Articles
Related Tutorials:
Children & Divorce Tutorial
Related Divorce Laws:
Custody, Visitation & Support Laws (All 50 States)
Related Divorce Law Tables:
Relevance of Moral Conduct & Character in Custody Cases (All 50 States)
Stepparent's Right to Request Custody or Visitation (All 50 States)
Guardian Ad Litem Statutes in Dissolution-of-Marriage/Custody Proceedings (All 50 States)
Related Checklists:
Child Behavior Checklist
Family Counseling and Divorce Checklist
Child Custody Checklist
Divorced Parent Checklist
Related Research Links:
State Child Support Enforcement Offices (All 50 States)
Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (All 50 States)
Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (All 50 States)
Related Community Forums:
Child Removal Issues
Children Issues
Child Support Issues
Child Custody Issues
Related Products:
On-line Parenting Education Class: Positive Parenting Through Divorce makes completing the state mediatory parenting classes fast and easy.

On-line Custody, Visitation & Support Tracking Tools: Keep track of visitation, conflicts, support payments, and create a documented account of all custody, visitation and support issues.

Parent/Child Psychological Evaluation: Psychological evaluations help you as a parent, understand how the separation or divorce is affecting your child by providing knowledge that will help you prevent your child or children from experiencing unnecessary emotional harm.

Related Downloads:
How to Win Child Custody
The Father's Child Custody Handbook
The Mother's Child Custody Handbook
The Divorce Record Keeper
Interference as Grounds for Modification
The Rights and Responsibilities of Stepparents
Sibling Visitation Rights
Relevance of Adultery in Custody & Visitation
Parent's Ability & Willingness to Cooperate
Basic Law for Construing Separation Agreements
What Happens to the Marital Home Upon Divorce
Divorce Research Center (2000+ articles)
Related Books:
The Father's Child Custody Handbook
The Mother's Child Custody Handbook
The Divorce Record Keeper
Child Custody Strategies for Men & Women
Mom's House, Dad's House - Making Two Homes
What Every Woman Need to Know
Helping Your Children Cope With Divorce
Helping Children Cope - the Sandcastles Way
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