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Question:

My wife and I are in going to divorce. We have one child, and I have a child from a previous marriage. How will having a child of my own to care for affect my child support payments for the other child?

Answer:

Please be advised that I am barred in Pennsylvania and will answer your question based on my experience practicing in Pennsylvania.

In this state, child support is based on the Pennsylvania support guidelines. Said guidelines calculate support based on the parties’ combined monthly net incomes. The Pennsylvania state legislature has come up with a chart for how much that couple should pay for child support combined each month.

Philadelphia Divorce Attorney Jaimie Collins

The obligor will then be responsible for his or her proportion of that total monthly child support figure, based on his or her percentage of the monthly net income. Once you have determined the base child support obligation for the obligor, certain factors can then decrease or increase that figure.

Such factors include the amount of custodial time the obligor has, whom is covering health insurance for the child, if the child attends private school or has other extraordinary expenses, and if the obligor has another child support obligation.

You should schedule an initial consultation with an attorney barred in your state at the earliest opportunity to discuss the facts of your case and your options for relief in your state.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Pennsylvania divorce lawyer Jaimie Collins, contact Cordell & Cordell.

The post How A Child From Another Relationship Affects Child Support appeared first on Dads Divorce.

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Modern dads are busting so many preconceived notions about fatherhood.

In generations past, fathers tended to be a source of financial support for their families, but were often emotionally distant. However, research shows that is no longer the case as today’s dads are finding unique and creative ways to connect with their children.

Moreover, modern dads seem to care more about what it means to be a father as their paternal role forms a central part of their identity.

The below infographic shows several interesting statistics about today’s fathers and the roles they play in their families.

The post 5 Interesting Facts About Modern Dads [Infographic] appeared first on Dads Divorce.

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Father’s Day is a day in which we take time to recognize the love that our dads so willingly show throughout the year. Throughout much of the year, the daily sacrifices fathers make for their children go either underappreciated or unnoticed.

However, although they do not always get the credit they deserve, dads play a critically important role in raising healthy, well-rounded children.

Unfortunately, the deck is often stacked against fathers. They face numerous stereotypes that are outdated and unfair, and in recent years, we have even seen Father’s Day ad campaigns that marginalize dads.

For fathers who have recently gone through a divorce or separation, things are even more challenging. Father’s Day is undoubtedly different after divorce, and many dads are forced to spend the holiday away from their children. That is a tough spot to be in.

It is important to keep in mind that a divorced dad is still a dad. You might not spend as much time around your children as you would like, but they still need you to play an active role in their lives and to remain emotionally engaged.

No matter what circumstances you find yourself in this year, know that your children are lucky to have a father who is strong, dependable, caring, and compassionate. Happy Father’s Day.

Cordell & Cordell Happy Father's Day 2018 - YouTube

The post Wishing You A Happy Father’s Day appeared first on Dads Divorce.

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Question:

I share joint custody of my two children with my ex-wife, who is the custodial parent. She is dating a guy who has previously been convicted of child abuse.

I really do not want my children spending time around him as I believe it is not safe for them. Everybody I have talked to says I can’t do anything unless something happens to the kids. Is that true? As a joint parent, is there any way for me to be proactive to protect my children?

Answer: 

Please be advised that I am barred in Missouri and will answer your question based on my experience practicing in Missouri. I would suggest contacting a family law attorney in your area.

In Missouri, if we believe there is harm to a child, we can file a petition for preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order. We set out for the court why we believe the children are in immediate danger and need protection from the court.

You will likely need the details of his felony child abuse charge (when it occurred, where, what happened, etc.) to provide the attorney so they can argue your children need protection from this individual. You may not prevail and get the restraining order because nothing has happened yet, but it might be worth a shot to protect your children.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Missouri divorce lawyer Erin M. Zielinski, contact Cordell & Cordell.

The post How Can A Dad Ensure His Children Are Protected? appeared first on Dads Divorce.

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When you are first issued your divorce decree, it might not hit you how uncomfortable Father’s Day can be the first year after your divorce.

The major holidays are significantly more complicated after divorce and require careful planning to avoid conflict and hurt feelings. Father’s Day can be especially tough since this day in particular is supposed to be all about you.

Here are some tips to guide you through your first Father’s Day after divorce.

Talk to your ex

Ideally, your parenting time will fall on Father’s Day and you will be free to celebrate however you please. Sometimes, this is not the case and other arrangements must be made in order to accommodate any festivities you have planned.

She might be the last person you want to talk to, but it is worth reaching out to your ex to work out a plan. If Father’s Day does not fall on your scheduled weekend, ask her if you can work out a compromise. Offer to let her have the kids an extra weekend, so you can have them for the holiday.

It will help your case tremendously if you were cooperative on Mother’s Day. As with all aspects of co-parenting, working out holiday custody arrangements requires clear communication and flexibility.

If, for whatever reason, your ex tries to withhold parenting time from you on Father’s Day, you should get in touch with your family law attorney immediately.

Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.
Be honest with your children

Previous Father’s Day celebrations were probably whole-family affairs. Adjusting to a more low-key holiday is going to be different for your kids as well, so be aware that they also might be dealing with some difficult emotions.

Acknowledge that Father’s Day feels a little different this year and let them know that it is OK to feel sad. You can admit that you are feeling a little down about things too. Make sure you reinforce that even though things are different, you and your kids still love each other.

Help them out with gifts

In years past, your wife probably helped the kids pick out a gift for you for Father’s Day. Depending on their age, your children might not know what to do now that Mom is not around to help out. This could be a source of anxiety for them if they are worried about you being disappointed on Father’s Day.

You might consider enlisting the help of a relative or close friend to help them figure out a gift idea. You can even supply them the money to pay for it. This is not about making sure you get a Father’s Day present but rather ensuring that you and your children are able to happily enjoy the day together.

Celebrate on a different day

The worst-case scenario is that you have to spend Father’s Day separated from your kids. In that case, just celebrate Father’s Day on a different weekend.

Just because you are celebrating on a day that is not designated as “Father’s Day” should not make the day any less special. The holiday is about acknowledging the special bond fathers have with their children, and that is something you should be able to celebrate on any day.

Take everything in stride

The most important thing to do on your first Father’s Day after divorce is to take everything in stride.

Keep in mind that the sad emotions you are feeling are entirely normal. It is OK to feel that way.

“It’s normal for a dad to be experiencing some sadness, some anger, some feelings of loss and just the sense that this isn’t what I wanted to have with my child,” said author, speaker, and teacher Laura Petherbridge. “Just knowing that those emotions are normal and that he’s not losing his mind or weird or something because he’s experiencing that is three-fourths the battle.”

Even if the day is a bummer, remember that it is just one day on the calendar. Even if you do not get the ideal Father’s Day celebration, the role you are playing in the lives of your children is crucial. Nothing can change that.

The post 5 Tips To Guide You Through Father’s Day After Divorce appeared first on Dads Divorce.

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One of the greatest challenges divorced dads face is the process of rebuilding trust and maintaining a positive, healthy relationship with their children.

As a father, your children tend to look to you as a source of protection and stability. When they see their parents argue and then divorce, that secure foundation is rocked.

Depending on the age of your child, they might blame you for the divorce and side up with their mother. That can be even worse if your ex-wife engages in the process of parental alienation, which should be considered a serious threat to the child’s overall well-being.

The period immediately following your divorce is a critical time for your relationship with your kids. Depending on the circumstances of your divorce, you might need to devote considerable time toward rebuilding a level of trust with them.

Here are several ways divorced dads can build back trust with their children.

Encourage open communication

It is important to be considerate of the emotional turmoil that your children have experienced and encourage them to talk about what they are feeling.

Repressing emotions is extremely harmful and can lead to long-term mental and physical health issues. Let your children know that it is OK to express whatever they are feeling. Be aware that this might mean you hear them talk about feeling anger towards you, but that is better than letting them harbor hidden resentment that festers.

You also should offer to answer any questions your kids have about your divorce. You do not necessarily have to tell them all the details about your breakup, but you should not be secretive either.

Your children might not feel comfortable discussing everything with you. They might feel like that means they are taking sides with you or their mother. If that is the case, you should consider whether your kids would benefit from seeing a licensed professional therapist or counselor who can help them work through everything they are going through.

It is important to be considerate of the emotional turmoil that your children have experienced and encourage them to talk about what they are feeling.
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Be a good co-parent

The major dilemma children of divorce face is that they love both of their parents, even though their parents no longer love each other. Maintaining strong, healthy relationships with both parents is a challenge due to the inherent complications of divorce.

This is problematic because having two active and engaged parents is the best way to offset many of the risks children of divorce face.

With that being the case, the onus is on you and your ex-wife to put your personal differences aside in order to find a way to effectively co-parent. This involves swallowing some pride and acknowledging that your children are better off having their mother involved in their lives, even if she is a person who has wronged you.

Good co-parenting requires clear communication, flexibility, and cooperation. Co-parenting takes effort from both sides, so you only have so much control if your ex is particularly disagreeable. If that is the scenario you find yourself in, consider parallel parenting, which is a high-conflict co-parenting model.

If you have done everything you can think of to get your ex to cooperate with you and she is still starting arguments and failing to live up to her end of the deal in your co-parenting arrangement, you should contact your family law attorney. An attorney who focuses on men’s and father’s rights can determine whether there are any legal remedies available that could improve your co-parenting situation.

Always keep in mind that co-parenting is about doing what is best for your kids. That should give you more than enough incentive to find a co-parenting system that works.

Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.
Be engaged

You are now sharing custody of your children, which means it is critical to make the most out of the parenting time you do have. It is not enough to just spend time with your kids. You need to ensure that you are actively engaged and present every second you are together.

“Being present is really about how much of yourself you really give to your kids,” said Han-Son Lee, who runs DaddiLife, a website and community for modern dads. “We see a lot of parents who are sometimes on the phone and there physically in the same space as their kids but not emotionally or mentally there. I think being present is about really being there for our kids and making sure there aren’t those digital distractions and various notifications and beeps and buzzes so that way you can really be present in the time that is most necessary for Dad.”

This should not be an issue for most fathers. The latest fatherhood research tells us modern dads are finding new and creative ways to stay active in their children’s lives more so than previous generations of fathers ever did.

The post How Divorced Dads Can Reestablish Trust With Their Children appeared first on Dads Divorce.

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Divorce is a tough process for everyone, but it can be especially brutal for dads. There are a number of societal, cultural, and legal factors that seem to conspire to make life for divorced dads difficult.

The good news is there also are some upsides to the divorced dad life, but there are some obstacles to overcome first. To get to that healthy place where you can enjoy your newfound freedom and quality time with your children, it is imperative to find a divorce attorney who focuses on fathers’ rights, whom you can trust to keep yours and your children’s best interests in mind.

If you are at the beginning of the divorce process, a divorce lawyer for men can help you understand what you are up against and figure out realistic goals you want to achieve.

Here are five of the biggest challenges divorced dads must face.

System that seems predisposed against them

The frustrating and sad truth that many dads discover is that at every turn, the family court system seems to be predisposed against fathers.

The shared parenting movement has gained a lot of momentum in recent years, as more courts are recognizing the importance of fathers, but the child custody statutes throughout the United States still do a poor job of promoting the equal involvement of both parents.

There still are too many gender stereotypes that stem from the traditional nuclear families of the 1960s, where the father supported the family financially while the mother stayed home to take care of the kids. This is unfortunate because society has evolved drastically and it is no longer safe to assume that the wife is taking on the primary domestic and childrearing responsibilities.

Data from the Pew Research Center shows that the employment rate of married mothers increased from 37 percent in 1968, to 65 percent in 2011. At the same time, an increasing number of dads are quitting their jobs and staying home to raise their children while Mom advances her career.

Not only are divorced dads less likely to get custody of their kids, but they also are more likely to get saddled with alimony and child support, which is a whole other challenge.

Many dads hit the pause button on their own careers for the good of their families and then feel shame about asking for alimony, even when it is deserved and necessary.

These double standards make divorce seem like a lose-lose proposition for many fathers. With so many factors working against you, it is especially important to get in touch with a family law attorney who focuses on men’s divorce. They will understand the unique challenges dads face during the divorce process and can guide you through the steps needed to take in order to ensure your rights are protected.

The frustrating and sad truth that many dads discover is that at every turn, the family court system seems to be predisposed against fathers.
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A broken child support system

Since divorced dads are less likely to gain primary custody of their children, they are thus more likely to be ordered to pay child support. In theory, child support would ensure all the necessary expenses required to raise a child are taken care of. The items your monthly payments can be used on should be limited to only those items that contribute directly to your child’s upbringing and well-being.

In practice, the system is flawed, archaic, and tends to take a disproportionate toll on low-income fathers.

This is how the system ends up working for many fathers: They are given a monthly child support order that is based on their current income (or, in some states, that income is imputed, which is a whole other issue). However, life changes and a man’s employment is fluid, so perhaps that dad is laid off and temporarily out of work.

Just because he is unemployed, his child support does not automatically pause. He must file a motion to modify that order, which usually requires the help of an attorney – an additional cost for someone who already is struggling financially. The process is so confusing that a lot of guys do not even bother with it.

Child support arrears quickly start to snowball, and suddenly, there is a mountain of debt. If he falls too far behind, he can be sent to prison for contempt of court. While he is locked up, those child support payments keep coming, unless he acts to stop it. This crushing cycle goes on and on.

If you find yourself in a situation where you cannot afford your child support payments, it is critical to get in touch with a family law attorney as soon as possible to see what  you can do to modify the order. The cost of the lawyer pales in comparison to the debt that can add up by failing to act.

Unfair stereotypes

Part of the reason that the child support system is so harsh on divorced fathers is because for years, there has been an overemphasis on collecting payments. The system priorities enforcement over fatherly involvement in children’s lives.

This punitive system is largely the product of the myth of the deadbeat dad. There is an assumption in society that there are a bunch of dads out there who are capable of making child support payments but refuse to do so. This stereotype originates from a 1986 CBS report that profiled a man named Timothy McSeed, who bragged about having six children who he refused to support financially.

While there certainly are irresponsible fathers, and mothers, out there, it is dangerous to generalize based on anecdotal evidence. Empirical data paints a much different story about dads in the child support system.

According to a U.S. General Accounting Office Report, 66 percent of all child support not paid by fathers is due to an inability to come up with the money. A study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family found that most economically disadvantaged fathers still did what they could to provide non-monetary contributions, such as baby products, clothing, and food.

Cordell & Cordell Founder and Principal Partner Joe Cordell has been helping men and fathers through divorce and custody issues for more than 25 years, and he says it is wrong to paint with such a broad brush.

“I know most of these men are not bad people; they love their kids, they want what is best for their kids, they want to be there for their kids,” Mr. Cordell said.

Dads frequently are the butt of jokes in marketing campaigns and often relegated to the second-string parent. Just a couple years ago, Amazon sparked an online protest for naming its parent-focused program Amazon Mom instead of the more inclusive Amazon Family. Old Navy also sneered its nose at dads two years ago with the release of this Father’s Day T-shirt that read “It’s Father’s Day,” but with the words “It’s Her Day” bolded.

Popular culture also tends to treat fathers as bumbling doofuses. The images of Homer Simpson and Peter Griffin would lead you to believe dads are crude, unintelligent brutes capable of little more than lounging on the couch and annoying their wives.

However, the emerging field of fatherhood research shows that modern dads are finding unique and creative ways to emotionally engage with their kids more than ever before. These fathers are doing a lot more than providing financial support. An enormous part of their identity centers on their roles as fathers, and they are committed to doing whatever possible to make sure their children’s emotional needs are met.

Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.
Tougher to find a support group

For a number of reasons, recovering from divorce is harder for men than it is for women. The emotional devastation of the divorce process hits everyone, but men and women mourn the end of relationships differently and research shows guys take longer to get back on their feet.

One of the primary reasons for this is that men tend to get more of their identity from their spouse. Couples usually share the same social circle, and when the relationship ends, their friends usually choose sides. Often, the guy will feel like his friends are abandoning him and it can be tough to develop a support group.

There also is a stigma against men displaying any sort of emotional vulnerability, which can lead to a harmful suppression of emotions and feelings. If you are struggling with divorce, do not try to be a tough guy. The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale lists divorce as the second-most stressful life event behind only the death of a spouse or child.

There is a natural tendency to shut down in the wake of divorce. It is tempting to wallow around in your apartment with beer bottles and pizza boxes strung all over the place, but this is not the road to divorce recovery.

Reach out for the help that you need. If you cannot find support from friends and family, contact a licensed therapist or counselor.

Health risks

All the stress that is thrown at dads during the divorce process often ends up having an impact on their overall health.

Not only are there health risks in the present, but men face an increased risk of developing long-term problems. Divorce increases the rate of early mortality for men by up to 250 percent. Other studies have shown greatly increased rates of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, depression, suicide, substance abuse, and cancer.

It is so easy to get caught up in the financial and familial challenges that divorce presents, but the physical health problems that can develop are just as important. Understanding these risks can help you take action, so that your chances of developing any problems are mitigated.

Cultural and societal factors devalue the importance of self-care for men. Just take a look at all the self-care sites on the Internet. They are largely focused on the needs of women. Meanwhile, men are much more reluctant to go to the doctor for regular check-ups, which likely contributes to their shorter life expectancy.

“Men are naturally looked at as strong, impenetrable and pride-driven creatures who build their worth on  how much the can ‘bear’ or handle, so it’s perceived by many men as weak for needing to take care of themselves or take downtime that doesn’t make them seem lazy,” Eliza Belle, a psychologist who focuses on men’s health, told Mel Magazine. “[That’s why] it’s taken society a long time to outwardly recognize the need for male self-care.”

Although you have a lot on your plate, it is essential to carve out time for daily exercise, even if it is just a brisk 15-minute walk around your neighborhood. Exercise is proven to fight against depression and many other health issues, and is a great way to clear your head and make sure you stay in the right frame of mind.

It also is key to make sure you are eating healthy. This can be difficult if your wife did most of the cooking, but you need to take the time to meal prep and avoid eating pizza and fast food every night. This is doubly important when your kids are with you because proper nutrition is vital to their healthy development.

The post 5 Challenges Divorced Dads Must Overcome appeared first on Dads Divorce.

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Dads Divorce by Shawn Garrison - 2M ago

Question:

My son has really struggled academically over the last couple years since his mom and I divorced. He has persistently expressed the desire to come live with me so he can get better help in school.

My wife and I have discussed this option, but she is insisting on waiting until next year until letting him move. I think this is an urgent matter as our son has really struggled coping with all the change our divorce has brought.

The reason he is struggling is a simple matter of his mother not spending enough time with him to help him with the subjects he struggles with. Could I take her to court to get the child custody order modified this year?

Answer:

While I am not licensed to practice law in your state and am unable to give you legal advice, I can give you some general observations on this issue based on the jurisdiction where I practice.

Where I do practice in Virginia, to modify child custody requires a two-step process.

First, you must prove that there has been a substantial and material change since the entry of the last order, and then, you must prove that the change you are requesting would be in the best interest of the children.

Virginia Divorce Attorney Charles Hatley

Regarding the children’s desires, that would come in under the best interest of the child. The child’s desires are just one element of a multi-element standard.

Child custody is very jurisdiction-specific and requires a specialized knowledge of local law. For these reasons, I would suggest you contact an attorney who focuses on family law matters in your jurisdiction.

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than tips on these matters, so please contact an attorney in your jurisdiction to obtain specific advice as to the laws of your state and how they impact your case.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Virginia divorce Lawyer Charles D. Hatley, contact Cordell & Cordell.

The post Can My Child Come Live With Me? appeared first on Dads Divorce.

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Children of divorce are forced to adjust to so many dramatic changes. As difficult as your divorce might be for you, at least you have the prospect of starting your life anew and escaping an unhappy relationship.

Children of divorce must reconcile the fact that their parents do not love each other anymore. Sometimes, one parent will demonize the other and attempt to engage the child in parental alienation, a serious threat to the child’s well-being.

On top of all that, children of divorce must deal with a new living situation, new routines, potentially a new school, and much more. Divorce turns their entire world upside down and puts them at risk for many different negative life outcomes.

All these changes can result in behavioral problems that can lead to larger issues if they are not addressed. How your child responds to your divorce can vary depending on their age, but here are some common behaviors to look out for that might indicate they are struggling and need more help.

Of course, the best way to make sure your child has a healthy adjustment to your divorce is by ensuring that both you and their mother remain actively involved in their life. Shared parenting is proven to be the best post-divorce arrangement for children.

With that in mind, the impetus is on you to do everything you can to make sure you receive a fair child custody decision and the best way to achieve that is by making sure you have a family law attorney fighting for fathers’ rights in your corner who will keep your child’s best interests in mind.

Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.
Problems socializing

Some children of divorce tend to shut down, especially in social settings. In situations where they used to be lively and active, they suddenly appear shy and timid. This might be because they are feeling depressed.

It also is common for otherwise friendly children to suddenly start acting overly aggressive with their peers. This could be because they are hurt by your divorce and struggling to come to terms with those feelings of anger.

Keep an eye on your child when they are around other children. Ask close friends, family members, and your child’s teachers to be on the lookout for unusual behavior, so you can address the problem before they develop into a larger social issue.

Trouble sleeping

Another common problem children of divorce often deal with is trouble sleeping. This is understandable considering the amount of stress they are under.

In addition to all the heartache of seeing their parents break up, they are trying to adapt to new routines and a new living situation. You and your ex need to work together to co-parent and establish regular routines as much as possible. Regular times to do homework, eat dinner, and get ready for bed can go a long way toward ensuring your child gets plenty of shuteye.

If your child persistently fails to get enough sleep, the problem could snowball into trouble at school and lead to other health issues.

Loss of appetite

Some kids struggling to adjust to their parents’ divorce will experience a loss of appetite. This is important to be on the lookout for because a proper diet and nutrition is critical to a child’s healthy development.

Make sure you plan ahead and prepare healthy, balanced meals for your child. (Teaching them how to cook also is a great opportunity for bonding time with Dad.) If your child tries to push away their plate, set rules so that they must eat finish their veggies before moving on to another activity.

What you can do

The most important thing you can do as a dad is be observant and conscious of how your child is acting so that you immediately recognize any abnormalities. Communicate with your child and encourage them to speak up about how they are feeling both physically and emotionally.

If you notice persistent problems in their behavior, it might be worth seeking the help of a licensed counselor or therapist. You can ask your family law attorney if they have any recommendations as it is common for them to have working relationships with mental health professionals.

The post 3 Ways Children Act Out During Divorce appeared first on Dads Divorce.

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Research tells us that children of divorce face many risks. It is a major challenge for kids to cope with the drastic change that is inevitable after their parents split and that adjustment is even tougher if they are exposed to the conflict of divorce.

How children of divorce respond to news of their parents’ split can also vary wildly depending on their age. Your 4-year-old toddler is probably going to take the news of your divorce a whole lot differently than your 15-year-old who is about to get their driver’s license.

Below you will find an age-by-age guide walking you through how children are likely to respond to your divorce. You also will find tips for how you can help ease this difficult transition for them.

No matter your child’s age, the best thing you can do to ensure a healthy adjustment after your divorce is ensuring that they have a strong and loving relationship with both you and their mother. Unfortunately, that is not always possible if your child custody order pushes you out of the picture. That is why it is so important for you to find a family law attorney who focuses on men’s divorce and protecting the rights of fathers.

As soon as it is apparent that your marriage is heading for divorce get in touch with a divorce lawyer for men, so that you have an advocate in your corner looking out for the best interests of both you and your child.

Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.
Toddlers (18 months to 3 years)

The cognitive ability of toddlers is very limited, which makes divorce very confusing.

They also have yet to develop the coping skills needed to adjust to such a dramatic life change. That leaves them particularly vulnerable to emotional problems later in life.

The younger a child is, the more self-centered they are and the more likely they are to personalize your divorce, meaning they may end up feeling like your divorce is their fault. When a toddler’s parents divorce, it is not unusual to see them regress and return to behaviors such as thumb sucking and bedwetting, and they might struggle sleeping alone at night.

Easing the transition: As much as possible, work to establish a predictable routine that is easy for your child to follow. Focus on spending plenty of time with your child and offer extra attention anytime you notice them acting scared or lonely.

Be patient with your child if they show any behavior problems. Keep in mind how confusing this adjustment is for them and show compassion and empathy anytime they act out or express sadness about the situation.

Preschoolers (3 to 6 years)

It is difficult for a preschooler to grasp the concept of divorce and they will want their parents to stay together regardless of how unpleasant the home environment is.

Children in this age bracket might be more likely to believe they are the reason their parents are separating. Feelings of anger and fear about the uncertainty of their lives are common.

Easing the transition: Children this age tend to reflect whatever moods their parents are in, so try to handle your divorce in a positive and respectful manner.

Although your preschooler will probably be too young to fully understand what is happening, you still need to be there to talk to them and answer questions they might have.

There also are children’s divorce books written for preschoolers that can help them relate to what is happening.

How children of divorce respond to news of their parents’ split can also vary wildly depending on their age.
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School-age children (6 to 12 years)

Since school-aged children are a little older, they might have gotten used to the nurturing environment you raised them in. Now that their parents are suddenly splitting, it is natural for them to experience fear of abandonment.

How much your child understands about divorce still will vary depending on how old they are.

Kids ages 8 and younger are less likely to grasp what is happening and more likely to blame themselves for their parents’ breakup.

Children age 8 to 11 are prone to blaming one parent in particular and choosing sides. Boys often lash out aggressively against siblings or classmates, and girls tend to withdraw and become anxious or depressed.

Easing the transition: Since your child is likely struggling with feelings of loss and rejection during your divorce, you need to focus on establishing a sense of security for them and rebuilding their self-confidence.

The best way to do this is by makings sure both you and your ex-wife spend plenty of quality time with them and encourage them to discuss their feelings. Reinforce that neither of you are abandoning them and that the divorce is in no way their fault.

As with the younger age groups, a steady routine can go a long way toward helping your school-age child adjust after your divorce. Regular times to eat, do homework, and go to bed are critical.

It is important to help your child maintain a healthy social life, so encourage them to get involved in extra-curricular activities they have interest in. This is a great way for your child to rebuild their self-esteem and connect with other kids their age, rather than withdrawing from the world.

If you notice persistent unusual behavior from your child in the wake of your divorce, regardless of their age, it might be worth enlisting the help of a professional counselor or therapist. They can gain valuable insight into what is going on with your child and can help give you the tools you need to guide them through this difficult transition.

Teenagers (13 to 19 years)

A child’s adolescent and teenage years are developmentally crucial, and a parental divorce has the potential to disrupt their maturation and harm the relationships they build as adults.

At this age, your teenager is more likely to understand the complexities of divorce, but teens also tend to be more judgmental and are quicker to assign blame.

Teenagers are often intelligent and might seem like adults, which causes many parents to make the mistaken assumption that they are more mature than they actually are. Science shows their brains continue developing until age 25 or 26.

Easing the transition: Just because your teenager appears mature, do not use them as a confidant during your divorce. That throws more pressure on them than they deserve.

Avoid insulting your ex in front of them as it is important for their development to have loving relationships with both you and their mother.

Offer to let your teen vent whenever they need to and encourage them to be honest about what they are feeling, even if that means they end up expressing anger towards you.

Take steps to establish a wider support network of family, friends, and teachers so that your child knows they have plenty of loved ones behind them. Sometimes it is easier for them to open up to someone other than a parent.

The post An Age-By-Age Guide For Helping Children Through Divorce appeared first on Dads Divorce.

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