Ending a marriage can feel like a failure. Because no one gets married to get a divorce, it can feel like one’s world has turned upside down. But divorcing spouses in Virginia are not alone. This is because the divorce rate has remained around 50% in the United States. And of those divorcing partners, many of them have children.

Divorcing with children can seem to make the process more emotional and challenging because there are many unknowns along with the family law issues that need to be decided. What will custody look like, what will the children think, how will you relationship with your children change when you are no longer with them everyday and how will you work through future family issues.

When parents go through a divorce, many of them develop a sense of guilt because they look as the process as tearing a family apart. It is normal to worry about the children when going through this process; however, it is not all bad. When parents decide to divorce, it is often because they can no longer get along or something broke their marriage. If this creates a high conflict situation, it is often best that a child is not in the middle of that or living in a household with parents that do not get along.

Based on the age of the children involved, parents might be able to be completely open and honest about their decision to divorce. In other cases, when children are young, it is best to simplify the conversation, explaining to the child the changes they are experiencing, what time with each parent will look like and being available to answer the questions they might have.

When parents are able to collaborate and work together in the divorce process, this sets the stage for a likely successful co-parenting relationship. It not only helps when working through divorce issues related to the children, such as custody and support, but it also helps in situations where both parents need to communicate with or about their children.

Divorcing with children can add emotions to an already difficult matter. However, there are ways to work through this process, ensuring that the needs and best interests of the children are protected and met.