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Remembering your kids during your New York divorce

New York parents who are going through divorce probably want to ensure that they still retain a significant amount of parenting time with their children. The good news is that your relationship with your kids does not need to wither and perish just because you and your spouse are calling it quits. Although your interaction is almost guaranteed to change, you can still have a positive relationship with your children after a breakup. The best way to ensure this continued interaction is to lay a strong foundation of communication and love throughout the entire process.

Breaking the divorce to your children may be one of the most difficult parts of ending your marriage. Your kids should be involved in a discussion about the family's future; they should not simply be told what is happening. Be sure that you refrain from blaming each other, and emphasize the fact that the children are not responsible for the breakup. Instead, focus the conversation on the grownups in the relationship, explaining how a divorce will help stop the fighting. Be sure that you communicate with your kids at every step of the process, explaining child custody and visitation arrangements in terms they can understand. Remember that you and your partner may not be married anymore, but you are both still a parental unit.

During the divorce itself, negotiate fairly with your ex to keep visiting time equal, if at all possible. Mediation is especially helpful during this phase. Parents are urged to keep negative thoughts about their ex to themselves during this process, as this criticism can affect their children's emotional state. No matter how you feel about your ex, your kids need time with both of you.

Ultimately, the courts will either decide your child custody arrangement, or they will need to approve a mediated custody document. To expedite the process, work together with your ex to develop a quality parenting plan that will show the courts that you have set up an infrastructure for successful co-parenting.

Source:, "Divorce: Remember the kids" Tom Rokins, Oct. 31, 2013

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