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Focusing on children's well-being during divorce

Texas parents who are considering divorce may first want to think about the timing in terms of helping their children adjust. For example, they may want to decide whether they want to do it during the school year so that they can deal with most aspects of the divorce while children are at school or in the summer when they might be able to spend more time with their children.

If parents are not living together, they will need to put a temporary custody and support order in place. Some parents may want to take turns staying in the family home with the children. In other cases, a parent may have left the family entirely, but that parent is still obligated to pay child support.

Above all, parents should try to create an environment where children know that they are loved and safe. They should not fight in front of them and should avoid speaking negatively about one another in the presence of the children. They should also avoid sharing details about the situation with their children. They should have a conversation with the children about the divorce, and ideally, both parents will be present for this. Children are likely to have questions, and parents should try to answer them in a way that relieves their anxiety.

If parents can begin the divorce by cooperating in coparenting, they might be able to continue this after the divorce. This cooperation could be significant in children's adjustment. Parents may want to use mediation to create a parenting agreement during the divorce, and if necessary, they can work with a mediator to iron out conflicts after the divorce as well. This may be a better solution than litigation because a mediator focuses on cooperation rather than an adversarial approach.

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