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Helping Children Cope in a High-Conflict Divorce

upset couple

When you get married, it’s not always easy to recognize that your significant other is prone to high conflict. Through time someone may learn that the person they married is not who they thought they were. However, when it comes to divorcing someone with a high conflict personality, it’s not the easiest situation to manage, especially if children are involved.

Children are innocent bystanders during the divorce process, which means it’s important that they have an advocate on their side. This is one of the biggest reasons why family law courts always make decisions that are in the best interests of the child. While it may be difficult to protect your children from the conflict in your divorce, it’s essential in helping them cope through the process.

What is a “High Conflict” Divorce?

When a couple turns hostile because they cannot resolve their divorce issues like child custody, division of marital assets, restraining orders, allegations of abuse, or other matters, it can turn into a high conflict divorce.

Parents will often fight about several issues in a high conflict divorce, including:

  • Custody
  • Money and property
  • Opposing parenting styles
  • Who has the upper hand in the situation
  • Unresolved feelings
  • New relationships

How Parental Conflict Affects Children

While these seem like common issues to dispute during a divorce, it can result in severe consequences for the children. If parents cannot come to an agreement and continue to fight with each other, their children are more likely to be negatively impacted.

Some of the most common effects that conflict can have on children include:

  • Acting out by demonstrating behavioral issues, increased anger, violent behavior, delinquency, and practicing harmful habits like drugs and alcohol.
  • Becoming depressed and isolating themselves from friends and loved ones.
  • Suffering from physical side effects like headaches, stomach aches, ulcers, etc.
  • Developing poor social skills, lower self-esteem, and poor relationships that can continue on until adulthood.

Helping Children Avoid Conflict

In a high conflict divorce, parents may have a difficult time thinking about anything other than getting back at their ex-spouse. However, this can be incredibly harmful to their children. Parents need to be able to counter these negative effects by protecting their children from the anger and contention the parents face in their divorce.

Parents should consider the following when talking about their divorce or their child’s other parent:

Accept Responsibility

Although you might feel as if you are innocent in your divorce, that might not be completely true. If you are engaging in heated debates with your ex in front of your child, then you are also contributing harm to your child. Accept that you have played a role in this situation as well and learn from your mistakes to avoid doing so in the future.

Stop Arguing in Front of Your Child

Children should never see their parents fighting. When fighting does occur, try to keep your cool and ask your ex to continue this discussion later. Your child should not have any clue there are issues between you and their other parent. If this is impossible, consider only speaking to your ex through your lawyer at this point.

Don’t Speak Negatively About Your Ex in Front of Your Child

When you badmouth your child’s other parent in front of them, this can cause inner conflict for your child. They might feel confused and anxious about the situation, and they might feel like they must “pick a side.”

Take Co-Parenting Classes

For the sake of your child, you will have to find a way to have a somewhat amicable relationship with your ex. Co-parenting classes can provide you and your former spouse with the necessary resources to help mitigate the anger you feel so you can put your child’s needs first.

Rozin | Golinder Law is Here for You

When it comes down to it, all parents want the best for their children, but a highly contentious divorce can make it difficult to put aside the emotional trauma of the situation to truly focus on what is most important. , we are here to help protect you and your family’s best interests through every step of the divorce process. We understand how terrifying this time can be, which is why we are committed to providing you with the sound legal guidance and support you need.

Call our New Jersey divorce lawyers today at (732) 810-0034 to discuss your divorce case today.

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