Going through a divorce is already hard enough. There are tons of paperwork, and legal fees that need to be paid. And when it is not an amicable divorce, it can be even more time-consuming and stressful dealing with each other’s party’s legal representatives, especially if there is a history of domestic abuse since it adds to the victim’s trauma. Suffice it to say that anything that can be done to make it more bearable should be done.
Now, imagine that while there is all that happening, that is stressful and an emotional toll at the best scenario, you also have to defend and protect your kids during a custody battle. You will want to make sure that the best lawyers in Calgary are supporting you to ensure your rights and their best interests are being kept in mind.
We hope to elucidate a few of the questions related to how you can protect your children in those situations in the best way possible. Of course, having an experienced and seasoned child support lawyer Calgary supporting your case will be critical, but there are things you can do yourself.
Have Their Mental Health in Mind
During this stressful event, children are more likely to feel overwhelmed by their feelings. It is already hard for the parents that understand why this is happening, and have the maturity to deal with their feelings. Young children, and even teenagers are not as developed to deal with those feelings as we are.
Even though not always possible and dependent on the circumstances of the divorce, it is recommended that both parents act with maturity and allow children to express their feelings and emotions.
Listening to your children will be the first major step towards protecting them and their mental health. Once they feel listened to, dealing with the situation and those new emotions will be easier.
Whenever possible, encourage them to voice their opinions, reassure the unconditional love both of you feel for them, and encourage them to have a relationship with both parents whenever this is a possibility.
Don’t Involve Them in the Fight
While listening to them is extremely important, not involving them in fights is also crucial. There are multiple circumstances that may create a hostile environment between you and your ex-partner, and not always it is possible to have a divorce in amicable terms. But those fights cannot happen next to or close to your child, and it is imperative that none of the parties involves them. Children do not have the maturity yet to deal with those situations yet, nor the obligation to choose a side.
Draw boundaries that protect their rights as people and as children. Both parents need to be aware of those boundaries and respect them to ensure that this moment is the least traumatic as possible for them.
It is not uncommon for parents during a divorce to go through various stages of anger, especially within cases that are more delicate and may need even more of the influence and intervention of a family lawyer. Try to focus and vent this anger somewhere else, like a therapist or close friends, but never towards your children. It is important to remember that children are easily influenceable, and talking ill of one of their parents and/or family members can only lead to them being confused and possibly building up anger themselves.
Consider Fighting for Full Custody
In Alberta, there are two types of custody. Physical custody is related to whom the child spends their time, or most of it. Legal custody refers to the ability to make important decisions that concern the well-being of the children, such as health and education.
Full custody in Alberta can be hard to get since it will be a difficult mission to convince the judge that joint physical and legal custody would be bad for your children.
Full custody is normally only granted when there is a history of domestic abuse, substance abuse, abandonment and neglect, or mental illness that makes one of the parents incapable of caring for and loving the child. In many cases full custody also does not mean that the other parent cannot see their children, they normally are entitled to visits, and if you believe they are a danger to the child then you can request supervised visits to the judge
Divorce is a difficult moment for everyone involved, and trying to make it less traumatic is definitely in everyone’s best interests. Unfortunately, this is not always possible due to a variety of circumstances, each case can be really unique.
Protecting your children should always be one of your top priorities, and there are different things you can do to make this environment less hostile to their mental and emotional health. Having a seasoned family lawyer with you can help greatly since they can employ their expertise acquired from previous cases and their resources, such as experts to give their professional opinions on a subject.