What About the Kids When You Divorce? III 

In my last post, I talked about some considerations that are often forgotten during the divorce.  There are lots more comments.  There is one serious comment I want to make, which has short, medium, and long-range consequences.

Part of it comes down to this:  divorcing people don’t think of all the issues to cover when they split.  Lawyers will often consider the children’s requirements in terms of money and some child care demands.  But they often can’t address the feelings that arise when a relationship falls apart and what happens when these feelings give rise to new needs.  Perhaps thinking about these feelings and needs before the split can help with some plans and forestall a lot of hurt and legal expenses.

An example should help.  One couple has a 7 year old child. They grew apart, she more than he.  She had taken care of their daughter, with him working “outside” and providing backup. She wants to go back to work and a career.  They both want to stay in an area that has relatively few job opportunities for her.  She needs to go look for a position.  Funds are limited.

Who’s going to take care of their child while she is looking for a job?  Was this what they expected when they were first together?  What will happen when she does get a job and gets on a career track?  Will he be able to take off from his position to take care of their child?  She feels the years of delayed gratification and frustration building up; he feels that understandings and promises were broken.

Right now there’s not a lot of good will.  Both sides are resistant and digging in.  Should they move where there’s no family support but where job possibilities are better?

Most important, do they know that while they are experiencing all this frustration and hurt, so is their daughter?  There is tension in the house and confusion as to what’s happening for the child.

At minimum, aside from counseling for the parents, the child should be in counseling as well.  Both parents should understand that the child’s interests should be foremost and that they must renegotiate their aspirations in terms of her needs.

These comments are just the beginning.  More to follow!



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