Making the decision to file for divorce is definitely one of the most significant issues you can face in life. You might be among many Alabama spouses who tried several options to restore your relationship with your spouse but ultimately decided that severing ties altogether was what you needed to do. As a parent, you assumed you and your children might encounter some challenges as you adapted to a new lifestyle.

The emotional, financial and logistical stress divorce can spark is definitely not lost on most children. They feel it too. Children are typically quite adaptable, especially if they have parents standing by to offer lots of love and much needed support. There are certain legal issues and other situations that can complicate matters at times. That’s why it’s also important for you to have your own support network in place.

Keep legal issues between adults

If your kids constantly hear you and your ex arguing over custody, child support or visitation issues, they may begin to internalize the situation and blame themselves for your divorce or your apparent unhappiness. You can help your kids cope by reminding them often that they are not to blame for your divorce. It’s also helpful to have discussions that are child-related in a private setting, so your kids can’t hear what you and your co-parent are saying.

Intentionally using children as pawns

If your ex is trying to pit your kids against you or is using them to deliver messages rather than speak to you directly, it can cause tremendous amounts of stress in your children’s lives. Children can get confused about loyalty issues or worry that they are upsetting one parent by doing what the other one requests. You can avoid this type of problem by incorporating specific terms in your co-parenting agreement, such as agreeing never to make negative comments about each other in front of the kids.

Parental conflict is a key factor

If your children witness you and your ex working together as a team for their benefit, they are more likely to have a low-stress, healthy transition as they get used to living between two households.

Researchers have found that cortisol, which is a stress hormone, increases greatly when children of divorce talk about parental conflict. By showing a willingness to cooperate and compromise as needed with your co-parent, your kids can keep stress hormones at bay.

When your best efforts aren’t successful

What if you are doing all you can to help your kids cope and to maintain an amicable co-parent relationship with your ex but he or she seems determined to cause trouble at every turn? If you have an existing court order and your co-parent is disregarding a portion or all of its terms, you can bring it to the court’s immediate attention, especially if it involves child custody or support issues. The court always has children’s best interests in mind and can legally enforce a court order, as needed.