Keep the Other Parent Involved in a Divorce


When a couple goes through a divorce, the challenges are immense. It can be tough to evenly divide up property, financial assets, and friends; however, the challenges are taken to a new level when there are children involved. Usually, one parent winds up as the majority time-sharing parent of the kids while the other parent has less time-sharing with the child or children. It can be tempting to tell the kids that the other parent was the cause of the divorce; however, parents should not raise their kids to dislike the other parent. In fact, it is important to keep the other parent involved as much as possible. As part of a dissolution of marriage proceeding involving children, parents will complete a Parenting Plan. The Parenting Plan will detail the time-sharing schedule the parties should follow with their child or children. It will also specify how parents should act towards one another and towards their children. The most important concept in a Parenting Plan is the notion that parents should always strive to act in a way that is in their child’s best interest.

Kids Love Their Parents

Remember that kids unconditionally love their parents. They love both of their parents. Their parents are a part of their DNA. If one of the parents starts talking negatively about the other parent, children can become hurt emotionally and psychologically. Younger children do not have the mental capacity to put up a defense against alienating one of the other parents and could wind up disliking both of their parents. Kids should be raised to understand that divorces happen sometimes and it does not mean the other parent is a bad person. If a child constantly hears that their parent is bad, they may start wondering if they are bad themselves, since they know they came from their parents. The vast majority of professionals agree that kids should not hear disparaging remarks about their parents. Children who frequently hear such statements will experience long lasting psychological consequences.

Parents Need Another Person to Bounce Ideas Off Of

One of the advantages of having two parents around is that there is someone else to bounce ideas off of. Raising children is a challenge and is even harder to do alone. Just as in other areas of life, parents have their strengths and weaknesses as well. The advantage of having two parents involved is that they can capitalize on their strengths and help to cover certain areas of weakness. Take advantage of this by keeping the other parent involved. Parents should try to remain civil during a divorce because they will continue to interact and be in one another’s lives if they have children in common. Parents that are able to co-parent will experience less stress as their children grow older, as they will always have a partner in the other parent when it comes to issues relating to their children. It is also important to have a common front in front of the child. Otherwise, the child or children will know how to pin one parent against the other.

It can be Tempting to Use the Kids as a Bargaining Chip

Worst of all, some parents will try to use their kids as a bargaining chip when it comes to time-sharing. Never try to deny the other parent time-sharing as a way to force their hand. First, this is illegal because it is a violation of the court-ordered time-sharing agreement. Second, it could raise the kids to hate the other parent or it could cause the other parent to resent their children. This is not the way to keep the other parent involved. Always try to honor the Parenting Plan and the time-sharing schedule at all costs. Most Parenting Plans will specify that children should not be used as a bargaining chip, as that is clearly not in the children’s best interest.

Article updated October 19, 2020.

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