Tips for getting divorced with minimal impact to your kids

Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 3:13 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - There’s no talking around it - divorce is difficult. It’s emotionally, physically, and financially taxing. For kids, it’s a rough ride as well.

Raiford Dalton Palmer, a Chicago family lawyer and author of “I Just Want This Done: How Smart, Successful People Get Divorced Without Losing Their Kids, Money, and Minds,” has some great strategies to protect your new version of family through the divorce process.

When it comes to your kids, Palmer says to first understand their sensitivities and remind yourself this is not their decision.

“They feel like they’re swept along out of control and it’s very scary for children,” said Palmer.

Ideally, parents should be on the same page about the messaging and what they tell their kids.

He recommends that everyone get therapy.

Custody can be one of the most difficult conversations. Palmer says to leave the kids out of it.

“First of all, it’s important really not to involve the kids in the conversation because it’s not a kid thing,” said Palmer. “It’s the parents issue to decide. You don’t want the kids to feel like they’re affecting the outcome of the divorce or that the divorce is somehow their fault. So one of the big pieces of advice we give is to keep the kids out of the details of the divorce.”

Don’t show them court documents, don’t give them a blow by blow of what was said in the case. And focus on the best outcome for your child and your child’s needs.

“We need to focus on the kids, not the parents acting like the children are possessions or property,” Palmer said.

Parents may not always see eye to eye, so while working together sounds ideal, it doesn’t always happen. Palmer says even then, the best thing you can do for your kids is be positive when they’re around you. Take the high road. When it comes to money, avoiding litigation is cheapest, if you can work it out.

Child support is often decided by a formula, but for things like sports and cars, Palmer suggests doing what’s best for your kid, if you’re able. Even if it doesn’t always feel “fair.”

”Some people share one account and they just contribute money on a regular basis in that account and then agree that the expenditures for the kids will come out of that shared bank account,” said Palmer.

Palmer also says not to post negative things about your ex on social media and to not to gloat about your new fabulous life with someone else, either because that could be hurtful for your kids.

He suggests to speak positively about your co-parent. It may be hard, but it may also be what’s best for your child.

Full interview with Raiford:

Raiford Dalton Palmer, author of “I Just Want This Done,” offers tips and guidance for parents and children during divorce.