Child custody cases can be some of the most emotionally traumatic experiences someone will ever have to go through. The parents are often in the middle of a divorce or separation, and that usually brings with it hurt feelings and anger. Plus, no parent wants to lose valuable time with their child. A parent may be very concerned that their relationship with their child will be damaged because of what’s decided during their child custody case.
Ultimately, it’s the children who often suffer the most during custody cases. What does a child go through during this difficult time in their life? How can parents make the situation easier for their little one?
How the Child Feels
With the breakup of their parents, most children feel varying levels of emotional turmoil. Some children are more extroverted and will display their feelings. Others are introverted and will withdraw from people and activities.
During a divorce, children will feel sadness, anger and confusion. They can also feel intense guilt. A child loves both their mother and their father. When the parents are angry with each other, it can be difficult for them to refrain from speaking negatively about each other. The child will feel like they’re somehow being disloyal to one or both parents if they show that they still love both of them.
Don’t assume that a child who isn’t displaying any negative feelings are simply ok with the situation. Some children need more time to process things than others. How long that will take depends upon the child. Once everything has been processed, then the child may begin to display some negative emotions.
What Parents Can Do
If at all possible, leave your children out of your divorce. Don’t allow yourself to turn your child into a go-between. Instead, put forth the effort to communicate directly with your ex. If you’ve been wronged during your marriage it can be difficult to see your child giving their love and affection to the person who hurt you so deeply. It’s going to take some strength, but try your best to not to say anything negative about your spouse to your child. And lastly, do your utmost to avoid fighting in front of your child.
Follow the Example of the Court
In most states, including North Carolina, the court concerns itself with what is in the best interests of the child. When making decisions about custody, visitation and child support, the court will first and foremost ask what is in the best interests of the child. You can follow that example. If you ever feel the urge to communicate to your spouse through your child or have a hard time not fighting in front of your child, ask yourself- is this in the best interests of my child?
A child custody case can be a difficult experience. What can help the situation is ensuring you receive sound legal advice from a professional. Contact John C. Fitzpatrick today. We can advise you on how to proceed so that your child’s best interests are realized.