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The impact of divorce on children

Although a divorce terminates a Massachusetts marriage, the connection between the parents and their children continues after the order has been entered. However, the emotions of the process often carry over into parenting, creating a wide range of consequences for children whose parents carry on their antagonism in their presence. In fact, the antagonism may make the children feel that they are the reason for the divorce.

There are some important strategies that can be implemented by parents to ensure that divorce litigation is handled in a way that affirms the child's importance to both parties. For example, it is important to impart to children that a breakup is not their fault. If this is not clearly communicated, the children might assume that there is something that they have done to drive their parents apart. It is also crucial that parents clearly communicate their ongoing love for a child in spite of the change of feelings toward an ex-spouse. Negativity about the other parent should not be expressed in front of a child as this may be construed as a personal attack as well.

A child may have trouble processing feelings, and a parent can't legislate them. Further, a child should not be expected to be the primary source of communications or information. Co-parenting is an important strategy for instilling a sense of confidence and self-worth in a child in spite of a divorce.

Developing a co-parenting plan can be challenging, especially if there are areas over which the two parties disagree. A lawyer might suggest to a parent that mediation may be, which may allow the parties to arrive at the best plans that take the children's interests into account.

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