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Getting a Divorce in a Covenant Marriage | www.MyDivorceDocuments.com

covenant marriage divorce

If you’ve never heard of a covenant marriage, or if you know very little about covenant marriage, it’s probably because it is only offered in 3 states. Covenant marriages are offered in Arkansas, Arizona, and Louisiana, but the concept of the covenant marriage has been around for quite some time.

What is a Covenant Marriage?

A covenant marriage is different from a “regular” marriage because the couples in covenant marriages essentially waive their rights to a no-fault divorce. Covenant marriages are said to be more binding than regular marriages because they are based on covenants, not contracts.

A covenant is a solemn, usually religious, agreement, whereas a contract is a legal agreement. Proponents of covenant marriages believe “regular” marriages are contract-based marriages, which do not hold marriage as sacred and permanent an institution. Due to the deep religious affiliation covenant marriages have, covenant marriages have certain laws imposed upon them that make it difficult to divorce.

Guidelines of a Covenant Marriage

A covenant marriage requires couples to attend premarital counseling, and to fill out special covenant marriage paperwork. During the premarital counseling sessions, the couple is advised of the severity of committing to a lifelong marriage, the legal restrictions on divorce, and how to deal with marital issues.

The prospective spouses then must file an intent to enter into a covenant marriage. The intent (or declaration) involves a few documents that demonstrate both parties’ willingness to enter into a covenant of marriage. All this paperwork includes disclaimers about the stipulations of a covenant marriage, like the difficulties of divorcing out of a covenant marriage and more.

Divorce in Covenant Marriages

The first step in seeking a divorce in a covenant marriage is to seek marriage counseling. The covenant both parties agreed to when they wedded includes a clause about always seeking counseling should issues arise.

There are stringent divorce grounds in a covenant marriage; but since only three states offer the covenant marriage option, here are the specific grounds:

Arkansas: There are 4 grounds for divorce.

  1. Adultery

  2. Conviction of a felony or serious crime

  3. Physical or sexual abuse of one of your children

  4. Living separate and apart for at least 2 years; living separate and apart for 2 years and 6 months, if there are children; or living separate and apart for at least 1 year if there has been a form of abuse

Arizona: There are 8 grounds for divorce.

  1. Adultery

  2. Abandonment for 1 year or more

  3. Imprisonment or death sentence due to conviction of a felony

  4. Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse

  5. Living separate and apart for 2 consecutive years

  6. Being legally separated for 1 year

  7. Substance and/or alcohol abuse

  8. Both spouses agree to the divorce

Louisiana: There are 5 grounds for divorce.

  1. Adultery

  2. Imprisonment or death sentence due to conviction of a felony

  3. Abandonment for 1 year or more

  4. Physical or sexual abuse

  5. Living separate and apart for 2 years; under legal separation, living separate and apart for 1 year, or 1 year and 6 months if there are children.

How to Travel Post-Divorce

travelingIf there is one thing divorce is good at doing, it’s knocking people down a peg, or 10. After a divorce, you are probably feeling a few of these common symptoms: Unloved, discarded, broken, over-stressed, and emotionally and financially drained. True, you may be feeling or experiencing these symptoms of divorce now, but know this too will pass.

After the divorce, and near the tail-end of the mourning period, you will feel life seeping back into you, and maybe even smile twice a week. This is the perfect time to take a little post-divorce trip.

A Post-Divorce Trip. Is That a Thing?

Post-divorce trips are gaining in popularity, but aren’t quite established life events yet; there is no manual on post-divorce trip etiquette, or a “Congrats on your post-divorce trip!” Hallmark section. However, there is a philosophy behind the post divorce trip.

The post-divorce philosophy is that life is too short to not enjoy it. After a divorce, people usually have one of two responses: 1) They feel drained, lifeless, and like life is nothing but a mess; 2) They feel empowered to live life how they want to. A post-divorce trip works to make the divorce a part of the past and to offer people a new perspective.

Post-Divorce Tripping on a Budget

If you’re reading this blog and thinking, “Yeah, go on a post-divorce trip, with what money?” then we invite you to think outside of the box. Some trips can come with a hefty price tag, but there are ways around that.

We found a great article with fantastic ideas about traveling on the cheap, if not completely free. You may not end up in four-star hotels with vaulted ceilings and canopy beds, but your experience will be just as real and rejuvenating.

Tips to Post-Divorce Tripping

The whole idea of post-divorce trips is to rejuvenate yourself and your life. So here are a few tips to prevent anything from zapping your rejuvenation and life-affirming experiences.

Tip #1: Go somewhere new. On this trip of rediscovery and wonder, choose a destination that is completely new to you. By submerging yourself in a completely new environment, it will give you the chance to make memories that are untouched by the divorce or the daily stresses. Also, by going somewhere without connections to anything or anyone, you will be able to put the focus where it needs to be right now: you and your happiness.

Tip #2: Don’t pack unnecessary baggage. During the trip resist the urge to contact your spouse. In fact, leave the world behind. Limit your phone calls, texts, instant messages, social media updates while on your trip; at home, those are welcome distractions, but while on your post-divorce trip they are just intrusions.

Tip #3: Choose your company wisely. If the prospect of traveling alone seems frightening, but intriguing, then it might be in your best interest to take the leap and learn to be your own best company. If the prospect of traveling alone seems downright terrifying, then there is no harm in recruiting a travel buddy; but, the travel buddy must have certain qualities.

The travel buddy cannot:

  • bring up painful memories

  • allow you to wallow the whole trip

  • be a pessimist

The travel buddy should:

  • make you laugh

  • be adventurous

  • have a great shoulder to support you with

Where will you go on your post-divorce trip?

Myths, Realities, and Thoughts About the Divorce Rate

divorce statisticsEvery now and then, American media will plaster the U.S. divorce rate all over the news outlets. No doubt you’ve seen or heard the shocking news that the divorce rate in America is at 50%, meaning half of all marriages stay in tact; or, if you’re a glass-half-empty kind of person, then  50% of American marriages end in divorce.

This news sparks floods of opinions from pundits from all sides and shades of every spectrum known to man; “Are Americans experiencing a moral dilemma,” or “Are we simply the epitome of depravity?” No one is quite sure, but here’s one thing we are sure of: The divorce rate has not hit cruise control at 50%.

Numbers Never Lie, Statistics on the Other Hand…

According to the U.S. Census Population compendia published in 2012, the percentage of divorced spouses in 2010 was 10.4%. Although the census data excluded members of the Armed Forces, 10.4% is quite a different figure from 50%.

So why on earth do people say the divorce rate is 50%? Well we’re glad you asked, because it’s really a strange and interesting quasi-science.

Calculating the Divorce Rate

Statisticians have various methods to calculate the divorce rate, according to the National Numeracy Network.

  • Method 1: Calculate the ratio of divorces and marriages per year

  • Method 2: Calculate the percentage of divorces that occur per year throughout the entire population

  • Method 3: Calculate the percentage of divorces that occur per year throughout all marriages

  • Method 4: Calculate the percentage of divorces occurring in a group of people who married within the same year

According to a New York Times article, most social scientists (as they are called) prefer to use Method 4 to find the current divorce rate and project the future divorce rate. But, as it turns out, the divorce rate is very time-specific and cannot reliably be used to predict future divorce rates. The reason is because each generation has different social variables that influence their marriage and divorce rate.

Custom Divorce Rates

Like every person realizes one day, there are multiple sides to a single story; divorce is no different. Each generation has different life-altering events and obstacles to overcome, just like each generation has different famed cartoons or celebrities.

A Wall Street Journal essay, published in 2011, put it best: “Every generation has its life-defining moments . . . For much of my generation– Generation X, born between 1965 and 1980– there is only one question: “When did your parents get divorced?” “

The essay included a graph from the National Marriage Project, depicting the rises and falls of the divorce rate. The points of time are connected by a continuous line, but in the light of the highly time-specific nature of the divorce rate I wonder, “Should we depict the divorce rate as a single, long-term event?” I also wonder how the projected 50% divorce rate affects couples currently on the fence about filing for divorce.

Readers, what are your thoughts on the divorce rate? Is a reliable indicator of the state of America’s family structure, or should we even put stock in the idea of a divorce rate?

The Evolution of Child Custody

history of child custodyLittle more than a decade ago, it was estimated that 90% of child custody was settled with the mother gaining full custody of the children. This obvious imbalance in custodial arrangements has made fathers all over America wonder at the horrible injustice and sex discrimination perpetrated by American courts.

But the courts didn’t just wake up one day and decide mothers were better parents; and family court judges are not battling Oedipus complexes. The reason about 90% of mothers received child custody in the past is due to a little thing called the Tender Years Doctrine. But we’ll get to the Tender Years Doctrine in a bit; first we have to make our way through a short history of the evolution of child custody law.

From Ancient Rome to 2013 America

Roman common law, established around 439 B.C., dictated that children of a marriage were the property of the father. This meant if a Roman husband and wife divorced, the children stayed with the father and the mother left.

Jump ahead hundreds of years to English common law, established around 1000 A.D., which upheld the same child custody outline as Roman common law. Simply carry the same basic common laws over into the founding of America, and you have the basis of American custody laws. The law theory pertaining to child custody was that the father was the only suitable parent to teach the children the ways of the world.

However, hundreds of years later during the time of the Industrial Revolution in the late 1800′s, the question of what was best for the child became the focus.

Tender Years Doctrine

The Tender Years Doctrine replaced old Roman and English common law child custody arrangements by giving mothers custody of children, until the age of 6. This change was spurred by the Industrial Revolution’s impact on family structure.

The Industrial Revolution caused men to seek jobs away from the remote villages the English people lived in up until that point. The absence of husbands and fathers forced women and mothers to handle the housekeeping and child rearing completely by themselves. When divorces occurred during this time, the courts saw how impossible it would be for fathers to continue to take full custody of the children.

The Tender Years Doctrine stated that children under the age of 6 were too young to leave their mother’s love and care. However, once children grew older, they were of sufficient age and maturity to follow their fathers to industrial towns to work. In America, the Tender Years Doctrine extended the mother’s custody indefinitely, which is the cause of the statistic describing mothers retaining child custody 90% of the time after a divorce.

Do We Have a New Doctrine?

The 1960′s marked the beginning of the divorce spike, which peaked in the 1980′s; but the divorce revolution also sparked a child custody revolution in the U.S. The new child custody doctrine is defined not by the gender of the custodian (a.k.a. the parent granted with child custody), but by the best interests of the child.

So far, this new “best interests” custody doctrine adopted by American family law courts has created the joint custody option. The first joint custody statute was implemented in California in 1979; by 1991, joint custody was written into more than 40 state statutes.

But here’s the catch: Many people are still seeing mothers gaining preferential custody rights in the divorce process. This claim produces many questions, like “Is this still true today?”

Check back with us later this week for the answer to that question.

The Right and Wrong of Conflict

78057026Whether filing for divorce or not, relationships usually deal with conflict at one point or another. Anyone who has ever been in any kind of argument knows it feels good to be right, and not so good to be wrong. However, psychology research has shown that the right and wrong, or “the truth,” of relational conflict is much more relative and fuzzy than we tend to believe.

When an incident or disagreement takes place, there is almost always two, or perhaps multiple, sides of the story. Each person believes their version of the truth is right and any other is wrong. But what if all versions are right, or all versions are wrong? Or what if there is no right or wrong?

These questions are probably more frustrating than enlightening, so I’ll go ahead and get to the point now.

Cognitive Dissonance: The “I Am Always Right” Syndrome

“People selectively hear and see what matches their beliefs and experiences,” explains Christina Curtis, a leadership coach who writes for Psychology Today. “They then lace each action of the event with meaning, and seek validation from those around them.”

In psychological terms, the above theory is called cognitive dissonance, when you find or sometimes actively create supportive evidence that you are right to avoid any feelings of being wrong. It’s a self-protective defense mechanism we use to avoid those negative feelings and instead keep ourselves standing in an angelic, heroic light.

The downside of this mechanism is the way it becomes destructive in relationships, especially the most intimate, conflict-ridden relationship of all: Marriage. Playing the right vs. wrong game allows disagreements to escalate and belittle the opponent, preventing quick resolution and reconciliation that can follow under ideal circumstances.

Victim vs. Villain

Another way of terming what is right and wrong within relational conflicts is calling out the victim and the villain. The victim is the right one and, of course, the villain is the one in the wrong. In order to protect yourself from being wrong, the other person slides into a downward spiral in your eyes, as you find evidence that they’ve been wrong all along and have characteristically selfish, villainous tendencies.

The main problem with this conflict approach is the way cognitive dissonance emphasizes the negative and downplays the positive in a partner. The victim ends up ignoring certain facts while self-servingly highlighting only the facts that support viewing the other as a villain. Rather than alleviating conflict, it’s simply worsening it.

The Potential Upside of Conflict

By escalating conflict, the two opponents bypass the opportunity to work through it thoughtfully and come out the other end stronger as a couple. Researcher John Gottman “found that stable marriages consistently had 5 times more positive behaviors than negative behaviors during an exchange.”

Even though there may be negative things to express during marital conflict, or conflict that occurs while going through the divorce process, focusing on all the positive facts about the other person produces more positive results. Seeing conflict with objective, all-encompassing eyes, instead of biased, self-serving ones helps you see all sides of the story, not just one version of the truth.

How does the theory of cognitive dissonance affect your view of relational conflict?

Women’s Divorce Rights: Progress in Uganda

skd284550sdcAlthough there are many circulating opinions regarding divorce in the U.S., we are lucky enough to have fair divorce laws in this country, whether you’re a man or woman. Until about a decade ago in Uganda, their law made it unfairly difficult and rare for a wife to initiate divorcing her husband, while letting husbands divorce wives quite easily. Now that Ugandan laws are changing, and representatives are standing up for the rights of women, the oppression of women in divorce is finally lifting.

Change of Law, Change of Heart

Cases of women initiating divorce in Uganda have been on the rise ever since 2004, when a court got rid of a sexist divorce law. The law allowed a man to swiftly divorce his wife merely upon proof of adultery, while a woman only had a case if she could prove her husband had committed sodomy, desertion, or bestiality.

Now women can file for divorce on account of abuse, adultery, or for any other matter in the marriage that lowers their quality of life. As a result, legal officials and activists report, the number of divorce cases overall has multiplied, showing how needful the unfair law repeal actually was.

Thanks to sympathetic Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, even more progressive changes may take effect within the year. Lawmakers are working to pass a law that would solidify men and women as equals within marriage, including making marital rape an offense, and securing equal distribution of property upon divorce.

Taking a Stand

Referring to how he likes to turn his courtroom into a classroom, Ugandan court magistrate David Batema pronounces,“[t]he major aim of the lesson should be to point out to the man that marriage, as of now, is a partnership of equals.”

Batema is a forward-thinking man who, among other activists and legal authorities, is admirably standing up for women, thereby helping to create a better, more egalitarian future. Many times during feminist revolutions like this one, oppressed women are the ones leading the way. It’s refreshing to see males stepping up to the plate, defending and empowering women.

Batema believes in protecting women’s freedom of choice, saying “that’s why in my career I have never refused to grant a divorce where one partner wants it,” he said. “Marriage is supposed to be voluntary.”

Confronting Stigma

Still lingering among traditionalist and church official thinking in the conservative, East African country is that the rise in divorce is shameful. What this kind of opinion disregards as unimportant is the overwhelming instances and likelihood of abuse from which these women are rightfully escaping.

As Maria Nassali, a family law teacher and activist, emphasizes, “[w]e need to kill the stigma associated with divorce. She’s not being selfish when she gets a divorce. She’s not being immoral. She just wants to be a human being.”

When a culture teaches and expects women to be submissive to their husbands, and disables them from making choices about their own well-being, the women are deprived of human rights. Thankfully, voices like Batema and Nassali’s are being heard, and the culture of female submission in Uganda is changing for the better.

Hitting the Snooze Button: How Lack of Sleep Affects Relationships

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We know that getting enough sleep is an important part of being healthy. My doctor tells me that persistent sleep deprivation can not only put a temperate damper on your brain performance and immune system, it can lead to more serious health problems down the road. What is relatively new to the discussion of sleep, however, is how it affects significant relationships, namely marriage.

Recent studies show that lack of sleep can impair important aspects of caring communication within marriage. Not getting enough shut-eye is shown to increase attitudes of selfishness and ingratitude regarding spouses, which in a broader perspective may eventually contribute to filing for divorce.

Waking Up on the Wrong Side of the Bed

Researchers at UC Berkeley studied 60 couples between the ages of 18 and 56 to see what kind of effect inefficient sleep had on feelings of gratitude.

In one version of the experiment, each partner kept a diary recording changes in sleep quality and the following interactions with their significant other. Another study videotaped the couples tackling problem-solving tasks together, evidencing that those who had a poor night’s sleep showed less appreciation to their partner. Results showed that in both experiments, sleep deprivation meant less thank-yous and decreased attentive validation between lovers.

As lead researcher Amie Gordon explains, “Poor sleep may make us more selfish as we prioritize our own needs over our partner’s.”

The Ills of Modern Life

The causes of not getting enough sleep are innumerable. Observe a typical city-dweller, corporate office worker, or yourself, and you’ll notice what busy lives we lead. From rush hour traffic to fast-food for dinner, everyone seems in a rush and strapped for precious time, not to mention the constant stimulation we receive from the technologies of internet and iPads. All of these things have the power to compromise sleep quality, and consequently our health and relationships in the process.

“Poor quality sleep and insufficient sleep can negatively affect mood and judgment, making us cranky and less apt to greet the inevitable ups and downs of life with perspective and an even keel,” says Michael J. Breus, clinical psychologist and Diplomat of the American Board of Sleep Medicine. This depletion of emotional willpower can leak into our most important relationships of all.

Sleep and Marriage

Married couples as well as people who have gone through the jarring divorce process may not attribute relational or marital problems to lack of sleep, and it rightly would be irrational to place a large part of the blame on it. But it’s the little things that count in the long run.

Lack of sleep could be a result of an individual’s lifestyle, a kind of busy life that is letting certain aspects of emotional and physical health fall to the wayside. Daily habits can turn into a vicious cycle of poor sleep leading to poor emotional health and neglecting the significant details of your romantic relationship, such as expressing the loving salve of gratitude. Taking the proper time to care for yourself, by doing things like maintaining healthy sleeping habits, will strengthen and renew other aspects of your life, including the relationships with those you love.

Collaborative Divorce: Stuck Between Contested and Uncontested

78630844The availability of the collaborative divorce process is gaining steam as more states sign it into law. A less adversarial form of divorce, collaborative divorce still allows the couple to make all separation agreements without sitting, or heatedly standing, in a courtroom.

Although uncontested divorce is the most ideal case in which spouses can settle things peacefully on their own, a collaborative agreement involving two lawyers keeps the situation out of any court drama that often ensues during contested cases. Thankfully, a new collaborative divorce law was just passed in Washington, solidly making available a more peaceful divorce experience for all involved.

Terminology Lesson

Just so we’re all on the same page, here are definitions of most kinds of divorce:

Uncontested Divorce: A divorce in which the couple agrees on all allocations of marital property, child custody, child support, and/or alimony. Uncontested divorce essentially eliminats the need for lawyers or a judge in court. An uncontested divorce usually gives a no-fault grounds for divorce.

Contested Divorce: The opposite of uncontested, contested divorce means the couple cannot make a settlement agreement on their own due to disputes. Lawyers and a judge are needed to make the settlement for them. The process is longer and more expensive.

Mediated Divorce: A divorce where the couple hires a mediator, who is usually a divorce attorney trained in mediation, to help them settle allocations agreeably.

Collaborative Divorce: Similar to mediated divorce, except the couple hires two lawyers, one for each spouse, to help them come to an agreement and draft the divorce settlement.

Good News for Washington

Despite its effectiveness, the collaborative divorce option is only enacted in a few U.S. states. One state that just made it available and signed it into law is Washington, to the joy of many supporters.

Called the Uniform Collaborative Law Act, it enables couples to utilize mental health professionals and child specialists as well as lawyers to make the out-of-court option run even smoother. Child therapist Kristin Little remarks, “You’re helping people to be good parents through the divorce, so you’re actually preventing a lot of the damage that can occur during the divorce.”

Indeed, going through divorce is especially hard on children, who tend to be caught in the eye of the storm. “I have been doing family law litigation 25 years and court is no place for families,” says Washington based lawyer, Cynthia First. When disputes need to be resolved themselves, leaving them out of the court’s hands means less hassle and more peace.

Amicable Splitting

The best way to settle any conflict or disagreement is through reasonable compromise and speedy resolution. That kind of attitude and problem-solving leads to feelings of goodwill for the ex-spouse and life after divorce. Even though spouses often have serious disagreements over what will happen to their life’s possessions during divorce, they can find a way to temper them independently through options like collaborative divorce. The collaborative divorce process frees up more time and resources for the divorcee to focus on other things, like moving on.

Baby Boomers’ Booming Divorces: Self-Fulfilling Prophesy?

84120557The rate at which baby boomers are divorcing each other defies many traditional expectations, obliterating marriages that have already lasted 25 plus years. Perhaps it’s not so surprising when you remember that the generation came of age as supporters of the cultural upheaval defining the 60′s. Again, many baby boomers are breaking tradition.

You would think marriages that have lasted so long would continue lasting throughout the end of the spouses’ lives. But statistics have been consistently proving that perception wrong, as more older couples enter the divorce process without looking back. There is a theory circulating that gray divorces are the result of the generation’s original expectations going into their marriages, expectations involving the high-held goal of self-fulfillment.

The Stats Tell A Story

Although the overall divorce rate peaked in the 1980s, a study by the National Center for Family and Marriage Research shows that the baby boomer divorce rate has doubled in the last 20 years. Among those 50 years old or older, the divorce rate went from 1 in 10 in 1990, to 1 in 4 today.

Experts speculate this is partly due to empty-nest syndrome. As opposed to fidelity being a main cause, divorce attorney Don Cosley says, “The reality is that lack of communication is often the deal breaker. Empty nesters wake up one day and realize they have nothing in common with their spouse. That’s because they haven’t kept up the communication in their marriages.” It’s possible that children may have been what was holding a relationship together, so that when they leave the nest, so might love.

Self-Fulfillment, Individual Needs, and Happiness

Social workers and relationship coaches, Linda and Charlie Bloom, offer up another theory regarding the age of entitlement. In addition to baby boomers living longer than any other generation thus far, “those born after 1946 have entered marriage with a goal that was not shared by any previous generation: self-fulfillment.”

At the base of this hypothesis is the notion that, growing up in an era of greater affluence and opportunity, these baby boomers–like the generations that have followed them–feel a sense that they deserve happiness handed to them on a silver platter. And this is the kind of expectation that fueled their motivation to venture into marriage.

While there is nothing wrong with valuing happiness, your individual needs, and personal growth, believing that someone else, your lover, can simply bring all of that to you is a grave mistake. The marriage becomes a blame game of him or her not doing their part to make you happy, when in fact, much of your happiness and success depends on you and the work you put into it.

As the Blooms emphasize, lasting love and happiness comes with your own “willingness to take responsibility for the fulfillment of a desired outcome and making the effort to bring it about.”

Lesson to Learn

Maybe it’s time for the term “self-fulfillment” to be taken more literally, meaning that we fulfill ourselves independently from spouses, and he/she is wonderful icing on the cake. When that shift of attitude takes place, marriage becomes a game of mutual helping and progressing, not finger-pointing. Judging by the high rate of seemingly successful baby boomer couples filing for divorce, it’s likely that they can benefit from this change of perspective.

Divorce from a Young Child’s Perspective

The dramatic event of filing for divorce is a manifestation of problems within the spousal relationship, which children are innocently caught in between. What’s even more emotionally troubling to contemplate is the common tendency for children, especially young ones, to somehow feel responsible for their parents’ separation. While that responsibility is always far from the case, they internalize the divorce and struggle to understand its complex reality.

What children need to always understand, no matter what is happening in any aspect of their life, is their unfaltering, complete innocence. Parents and other family members can help them remember this universal fact by paying attention, talking through the emotional difficulties, and showering their children with consistent support and reassurance.

Center of the World

What if you were able to read the diary of a small child going through their parents’ divorce? According to Stephanie Duckworth, licensed clinical manager at a behavioral health agency, it would sound something like this:

“If only I had been better, maybe they wouldn’t have broken up. Maybe, if I’m really good, they will stop fighting and get back together. Mom said she hates him, but I don’t. I really miss him, even if he does dumb stuff sometimes. What if one day Mom decides I do too many dumb things and doesn’t love me anymore? I feel so sad and my tummy hurts. I don’t tell Mom. I don’t want to make her more sad or mad or both. I don’t think she would understand. My family is broken. I feel broken.”

An important thing to remember about young children is the way they understand their place in the world. It’s hard for them to see that certain family problems have nothing to do with what they have or haven’t done, and they are in no way to blame. The world they can comprehend is small and they themselves are at the center of it, with parents in tightly intertwined proximity.

It’s evident from the excerpt that the vulnerability of young children creates a tendency to be confused and blame themselves. This affects their behavior in certain ways, like shutting down, becoming moody, and not talking about their feelings to their mom or dad, fearing that this would make things worse, and that they are the cause.

Effective Communication and Support

Talking about feelings is key. Even if the child prefers to speaking out to another trusted adult besides the parent, it is incredibly helpful. Like adults who keep things bottled in, children who do so run the risk of developing physical symptoms of the stress, such as head or tummy aches. Releasing emotions in mutual, simple discussion will help remedy this as well as their feelings of being to blame.

Without overwhelming them with too much information about the details of the divorce process, parents should work to state the facts and reassure their child of their unconditional love. It’s also important to avoid saying hurtful things about the other parent in front of the child; children love both their parents. In return, they need to know that they will always be loved, and reassurance of their innocence.