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Divorce and your children: How can you best protect them?

Life isn't always easy; in fact, sometimes, extenuating circumstances cause a lot of emotional, financial or even physical turmoil. If you're one of many Minnesota parents currently preparing to divorce, you are likely worried about how your decision to end your marriage might affect your kids. Here's the good news: Children are typically highly resilient and adaptable.

That doesn't necessarily mean it will be smooth sailing the whole way through, though. In much the same way that you need to stay organized and engage support systems when needed to juggle the responsibilities, or work and home life, for instance, you can do the same thing during and after divorce proceedings. There are legal protections already in place to support your children, and, as their parent, you can keep close watch on how they're doing, emotionally.

Working together with the court

Both you and the judge overseeing your divorce case have your children's best interests in mind. The following tips may help you keep stress to a minimum and can also point you in the right direction for assistance if a problem arises:

  • While the court has the final say in all matters concerning your children's custody, visitation or support, if you and your ex are able to devise your own co-parenting plan in an amicable fashion, the court allows you to do so.
  • If you do write the terms for your own plan, you must submit your agreement to the court for approval before considering it valid.
  • Following your divorce, any number of issues may arise in the future regarding your children, such as those related to education, health, religion or legal matters. There are support networks you can tap into, as needed.
  • Your children's emotional, physical, psychological and financial needs are likely to change as time goes on, after divorce. Taking one step at a time and letting them know you are there for them helps lay the groundwork for a successful transition.
  • There is ample literature centered on the topic of helping kids adjust to divorce. If you have friends or family members who have already navigated the process, you can ask them for reading recommendations.
  • If your co-parent happens to be the source of particular problem and the situation involves a legal issue, you can bring the matter to the court's attention.

You are human, like all other Minnesota parents, so no one can expect you to be perfect. You and your children may have good days and bad days as you adjust to living together in a one-parent household. However, divorce doesn't necessarily have to ruin your kids' lives, especially if you do not hesitate to reach out for support, as needed.

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