Following a divorce, Virginia parents may be concerned about the effect that the changes will have on their children. While divorce can be tough for children, parents can help them adjust. Their focus should be on the well-being of their children, and this often means supporting the child’s relationship with the other parent. Children should also be kept informed about any changes in the parenting schedule and even have input into it if they are older.
Some children may worry that they are responsible for the divorce in some way or that there is something they can do to fix it. They should be reassured that this is not the case and that their parents love them. Children should be encouraged to express both positive and negative emotions, including love for the other parent and for stepparents. They should not feel torn between two parents. They may have questions about the divorce, so parents should attempt to answer them honestly without overstepping boundaries. Children do not need to hear details about infidelities or other situations that led to the divorce.
In general, parents should let their children remain children instead of putting them in situations where they need to grow up too quickly. This includes allowing children the flexibility to spend time with their friends instead of their parents.
Parents may be able to negotiate an agreement for custody and visitation even if the divorce is not amicable. They can create a parenting agreement with the assistance of their attorneys that helps them manage the process of co-parenting. For example, they might agree on basic rules and expectations between households or on using certain online tools to communicate about scheduling. As their children get older and their needs change, parents may seek a modification in the custody and visitation schedule.