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Protecting children from the emotional trauma of divorce

Even the most acrimonious of divorcing couples in Pennsylvania may be able to lay their disagreements to rest during child custody and visitation discussions. While divorcing parents often have very different ideas about what is fair when they talk about property division or alimony, they are generally able to accept that they both want what is best for their children. For most couples, shielding their children from the emotional fallout of the divorce is a top priority.

Finding common goals as far as the children are concerned is a good first step on the road to developing an effective co-parenting plan. The body of research highlighting the benefits of this type of cooperative approach continues to grow, and bitter child custody and visitation disputes are becoming rarer as family law judges now tend to favor co-parenting solutions in most situations.

Children tend to have fewer emotional problems when they know where they stand, and consistent rules are among the chief benefits of cooperative parenting plans. These plans should also draw lines that parents cannot cross. Furthermore, parents should never drag children into domestic spats to relay messages or act as sounding boards.

A family law attorney may urge a client to tackle custody and visitation during the nascent stages of negotiation as reaching a consensus early could lay the groundwork for productive talks when more contentious issues are raised. The attorney may also suggest that the terms of a co-parenting plan be drafted to give parents a clear understanding of their responsibilities while still providing them with a certain degree of flexibility. A lawyer could point out that making these documents too restrictive can be counterproductive because divorced parents may feel resentful and look for loopholes when their provisions are too strict.

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