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Protecting children when a marriage is over

When parents in Washington divorce, children are often affected in many ways. One recommended way to make changes to a child's life less disruptive and emotional is for parents ending a marriage to be cooperative co-parents who proactively protect their children.

Remembering the best interests of the child should be front-and-center following a divorce. Accomplishing this goal usually requires parents to refrain from expressing lingering feelings of resentment and anger while also avoiding discussions about their ex's behaviors. While being honest with children is important, parents are advised to avoid being too forthcoming with details, especially unpleasant or uncomfortable ones. Reassurance that it's not their fault can also help children cope better with divorce, and parents should allow children to show affection for both parents even if stepparents or step-siblings become part of the equation.

Children of divorce also tend to benefit from being able to freely express both positive and negative feelings about the situation without judgment. Also, because kids frequently have divided loyalties, parents may be able to make things easier by showing honest enthusiasm for activities they do with the other parent. With parenting time, divorced parents are encouraged to be flexible enough to allow their kids to enjoy social engagements with friends and other priorities important to them without squabbling over making reasonable visitation adjustments. Children of all ages are likely to appreciate just being allowed to be kids without added adult burdens.

It's helpful when parents who are untying the knot can remain civil in working out custody, visitation and support payment details. The role of a child custody lawyer is to ensure that a parent's rights are upheld, especially if a child will be physically living in one home post-divorce. An attorney might suggest mediation if there are lingering differences of opinion before turning to the court.

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