Divorce and Children: Responsibilities of the Parents

Even under the “best” circumstances, their parents’ divorce can be a confusing and stressful time for children. Divorcing parents should keep in mind the following:



1) In Massachusetts it is mandatory for divorcing parents to attend the “Parent Education Programs, Understanding the Effect of Divorce on Children”.  Sign up for the course as soon as possible. http://www.mass.gov/parenteducationbrochure. You cannot attend the class together.  You both must present a certificate of completion to the court before a divorce can be granted.

2) Divorcing couples should come up with a “parenting plan”, which spells out each parent’s rights and responsibilities regarding support and parenting time. Although some divorcing couples can do this without court intervention, it may be best to go to court and ask the judge for a “temporary order”, which will address these issues on a temporary basis while the divorce is being settled.

3) Do not make disparaging remarks to the children about the other parent. Ultimately, this will come back to haunt you.  Remember that your soon-to-be ex-spouse will always be the child’s mother or father.

4) Many children benefit from speaking with a licensed therapist, who will help them to process their feelings about the divorce.

5) Children should not be privy to the details of the divorce, except where it directly affects them; for example, parenting time schedules.

6) Do not discuss your new romantic interest with children during the divorce process. Even after the divorce is final, be cautious about introducing children to a new “significant other”.

7) Try to maintain “normalcy” for the children by allowing them to see their relatives and friends and by helping them to participate in their usual activities.

If you are considering Divorce, please call Patricia S. Fernandez & Associates. Our legal team is dedicated to helping you choose the strategy that is right for you.

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