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Tips for protecting children from the impact of divorce

Divorced parents in Colorado can help lessen the impact of the divorce on their children by working together to help them adjust. Their children should not be made to feel guilty for expressing love for parents and stepparents and wanting to spend time with them, and parents should avoid negative remarks about one another in front of the children.

Parents should respect a child's need for a regular schedule. This predictability can be important in the child's adjustment. Older children may want some decision-making power when it comes to the parenting schedule. Parents should also try to be flexible if their children would rather spend time with friends than with them. This time can be important in building social skills.

After a divorce, children often need reassurance that they did not cause the divorce and are not expected to do anything to fix it. If they have questions, parents should try to answer them honestly while still maintaining some privacy about the divorce. Children do not need to hear the details of a parent's infidelity or other situations that caused the divorce. They do need reassurance that their parents love them. They also should be able to express both positive and negative emotions. Parents should never make children feel they must choose between them.

Negotiating child custody is an emotional process, and parents may feel overwhelmed by the idea that their children will no longer be living with them full time. However, most courts begin from the position that it is in the best interests of the child to have a relationship with both parents. Parents may be able to negotiate an agreement that allows for this whether they agree to share custody or one parent has custody and the other has visitation rights. Litigation is an option if negotiation is unsuccessful.

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