Straight Answers Related to Children and Divorce
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We at Straight Divorce believe in giving straight answers about various topics related to divorce. Because spouses argue more about child support, child custody, child visitation and other issues related to children, we are focusing on straightforward and direct approaches relative to divorce and how it affects children in the next few articles. For those who are eager for straight answers about these important issues, and for those who are deeply concerned about their children, this article will address some of the concerns that all parents face. We at StraightDivorce.com hope that you enjoy the first part in our three part “Straight Answers to Divorce” series.
Children...The Innocent Victims
Children are the innocent victims of divorce, and therefore parents should do whatever they can to make the after affects of divorce less painful for the kids. While divorce is inevitable for many marriages, children’s lives become very disrupted when divorce occurs. Not only do they feel afraid, but also they become insecure. It is therefore a parent’s job to alleviate that fear and insecurity by talking to their children about how they feel. While the children may not always be able to express themselves, during conversation with the children let them know that you are aware of how scary it might be to have Mom and Dad live apart. Parents should understand that children have two parents and no matter what goes on between the parents, children need to maintain a loving, lasting relationship with both parents. There should be no pulling in any one direction and parents should never ask children to take side. Just because their parents are no longer going to be married, they still need to have parents they can trust.
Questions about Child Support in Different States
Each state sets and establishes guidelines regarding child support as a means of making the system standardized. This amount is set and determined after the needs of the child and the parent’s income is evaluated through the state’s specific guidelines.
How does the state set these guidelines?
Guidelines are assessed and take into account the needs of children as well as the ability of a non-custodial parent to pay. Also taken into account is the standard of living a child has enjoyed prior to the divorce.
What happens if a parent fails to make child support payments?
Failure to make child support payments can cause considerable penalties to the parent. It makes no difference how long the parents have been divorced, both parents have the right to request changes when it comes to child support, but paying parents face difficulties when trying to get the support agreement lowered. A divorce attorney can help you with advice when it comes to child support concerns.
Spending Quality Time With Children
If one parent disappears or doesn’t spend quality time with the child, it leaves a huge whole in the child’s heart, one that probably never mends. Children should always be number one to parents, even if there are several children in a family. We bring them into this world and now it’s up to us to make sure they know they are loved. Fighting amongst parents in front of the children does not show them they are loved. In fact it does the opposite. If you want your children to learn that things are going to be okay, they need to see cooperation between parents.
Questions Related to Visitation
How is child visitation determined?
Visitation is a law and so the child cannot decide whether he or she is going to visit the non-custodial parent. Even when a child resists, children cannot skip visits. It is very important that children keep the connection between both parents.
What happens if there is conflict between parent and child?
Naturally, if there is a conflict, it’s important to try and help the child work it out. Parents should maintain a united front when it comes to child visitation and make it clear that visitation isn’t optional.
Can child visitation take on a variety of schedules?
Yes, parents can decide on alternate weekend visits with the non-custodial parent, longer weekend holidays, mid-week visitation and sharing of the child during periods of school recess such as winter, summer and spring breaks. Some parents can mutually agree on alternate birthdays and open telephone communication with the parent who doesn’t have custody.
Dealing with Children’s Feelings Before, During and After Divorce
One thing is for sure. No matter how young, children are not stupid. They may not always be able to express clearly what they are feeling, but they know what’s going on. So, be alert to their sensitivity. Since children have no idea what will happen to them when one parent leaves, be truthful when you talk to your children. You don’t necessarily have to tell them every detail, but they need to get straightforward answers. They also should be allowed to express their feelings. Even if you’d rather not hear some of their concerns, listen anyway. If they’re able to share their feelings and you give them honest answers, or at least are there to support them, they’ll be less inclined to feel guilty and far less prone to take blame for the divorce. Sadly, most kids think it’s their fault when divorce happens, so it’s up to us to make sure they know that it’s not their fault.