When it comes to divorce, there is no question that it is an emotionally charged and challenging time for everyone involved. However, children, in particular, feel the psychological impact of divorce and its consequences.
There are ways you can protect your children from extreme conflict and emotional distress during a divorce. Collaborative divorce, in which you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse work with your respective attorneys to reach a shared out-of-court divorce agreement, is one of the best ways you can help minimize conflict and make the process less traumatic for your kids.
Psychological risk factors for children of divorce
Divorce affects children profoundly on a psychological level. The good news is that researchers have found that most children recover rapidly after the first year. One exception remains, however. Children whose parents engage in heavy conflict during and after the divorce experience more adverse effects than children whose parents manage to avoid this conflict. This is just one of the many reasons why a collaborative divorce model is the better choice for children's well-being.
Benefits of collaborative divorce for children
While a non-adversarial divorce certainly benefits both spouses, it is particularly well-suited to children, as it reduces conflict and keeps control over decision-making in the hands of the spouses rather than a judge. Here are some other benefits of collaborative divorce for children:
- Focus on problem-solving rather than fighting ensures that spouses account for their children's best interests.
- Control over custody and visitation decisions allows parents to avoid using children as pawns in the divorce process.
- The process is faster than a court battle, thus resolving conflict sooner and allowing for moving forward expediently rather than dwelling on an ongoing trauma.
- Children are not forced into parental disputes in which they must choose their loyalty to one parent or another.
Collaborative divorce is a good choice for protecting the well-being of children. Although not all couples are suitable for this type of solution, because some couples are simply unable to find common ground, it is an increasingly popular choice among couples who are willing to seek shared resolutions to their divorce conflicts.