Most divorcing parents may be unsure of how to tell their children that
mom and dad have decided to divorce, and how much information about the
process is too much for the kids to digest. In Georgia and elsewhere in
Georgia, divorcing parents are concerned about how their children will
respond to living in two different homes and other
child custody issues. Due to these valid concerns, divorcing parents should consider
a few simple steps when speaking to their children.
When discussing issues pertaining to divorce, parents should try their
best to speak to their children, rather than at them or with them. Parents
should maintain a strong bond, which includes trust and respect, with
their children, so that there honest and open communication comes more
easily. In addition, when parents talk to their children about difficult
circumstances, they should be conscious of what is age-appropriate. Finally,
parents should avoid speaking negatively about the other spouse in front
of the children. If possible, parents should begin communicating early,
before circumstances get too intense, so that their children are more
comfortable and less surprised.
In a divorce involving children, the parents must create a child custody
agreement. There are two types of child custody: legal and physical. Legal
custody pertains to the major decisions parents must make for the child,
which includes religious, medical and educational decisions. Physical
custody pertains to the child's primary residence; typically one parent,
the custodial parent, will have physical custody of the child.
If parents are unable to agree on child custody and visitation issues,
a court may make the decisions for them. In Georgia, child custody decisions
are determined based on the best interests of the children. It is important
for parents to address the needs and best interests of their children,
either in court or when speaking to the kids themselves. Cooperating with
their divorcing spouse may make the process easier for all parties involved.
However, sometimes this is just too difficult, and an attorney can step
in and keep the lines of communication open and productive.