If you have found yourself in the middle of an unexpected divorce, this can be tough on everyone in your family. Quick changes and disruptions in your child's life can be upsetting if this isn't handled well. Here are three things that can help get yourself and your children through an unexpected divorce.
1. Keep Calm for Your Kids
If you have been blindsided by a divorce, this can be both an upsetting and emotionally jarring experience. It is important to take a deep breath and really think before you talk with your kids about what a divorce will mean for your family's future. If you can muster up the strength to talk to your kids with your ex-spouse as a united front, this is the best option. If this isn't on the table because your spouse has left or you cannot keep the peace, it is important to go in with a planned discussion. Underlying anger or sadness will worry your kids further, so try to stick to the facts. Being honest about things that are up in the air is fine; bad mouthing your spouse just because you're hurt is not.
2. Make Sure Your Family is Safe
If your unexpected divorce might be stemming from family violence or abuse, the most important thing is make sure that you and your children are safe. This might involve getting the police involved or contacting legal assistance. These types of aid can help with restraining orders or augmented options for visitation if you strongly feel that your spouse shouldn't be alone with your children. It is important that all safeguard options occur swiftly and within the legal parameters.
3. Quick Decisions Involving Children Need To Be Within the Law
While you may feel as though you are taking care of your children on your own, until custody rights are worked out and finalized, you may be limited in your freedom to make quick decisions involving your children. Be sure to run any immediate changes in your children's lives by a family law attorney, such as moving or switching schools. Even if you don't think your ex-spouse is present, they still might have rights that you should try to consider. You don't want to get into any hot water as your divorce proceeds.
It is important that you are the best parent you can be for your kids during this stressful time, even if you are emotional as well. If your divorce seemed to come out of nowhere, sharing details with your kids on your family's current situation as well as the future both need to be handled with sensitivity. If you have questions on how to handle your specific situation, always run these by your family law attorney for further advice and options.