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Show respect to all, in the best interest of the child

For some years, January has been designated as International Child-Centred Divorce Awareness Month. Most parents already realize that, in a child's eyes, there is no good time to learn that his or her parents will divorce. Coming so soon after a holiday celebration like Christmas, however, it can be particularly difficult to come to terms with the news. How may California parents facing these issues act in the best interest of the child and smooth the transition involved?

Respect is a key element in any relationship. The child will experience a range of emotions that may mirror those of the parents, and it would be understandable if everyone experienced some difficulty in expressing themselves. Showing one's child respect by giving him or her the opportunity to talk about feelings, offering reassurance and expressing one's own sadness in a constructive and positive manner, could set a good example. Allowing a certain degree of leeway in a child's behavior may also help, if one's own calm demeanor slips from time to time.

Showing appropriate respect towards one's estranged spouse in the presence of the child is also important, for various reasons. Belittling or undermining the other parent will likely cause more pain to the child than to the adult, but it also does not cast a flattering light on one's own attitude. This can cause damage to one's own case in the event that anything said is able to be used to one's detriment. This advice can also be applied to discussions or comments about such things as finance or visitation time.

For some California couples, it can be very difficult to engage in calm discussion over an emotional issue such as divorce. If that is the case then both parties may find it helpful to consider the assistance of a mediator. This neutral third party may help the parents, alongside their respective legal counsels, to reach an equitable agreement on things such as child support and visitation and ultimately that which is in the best interest of the child. This may also have the added benefit of less time spent in court, in turn expediting and smoothing the end result.

Source: The Huffington Post, "The Most Important New Year's Resolution You'll Ever Make (as a Divorced Parent)", Kate Scharff, Dec. 30, 2014

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