6 Tools That Can Benefit Children of Divorce

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sad child

 

When parents decide to divorce, the situation can be a confusing and difficult one for children. A divorce decree can mean much more than the final dissolution of a marriage to those involved, also. In many ways, a marriage is a business contract in the eyes of the court unless there are minor dependent children involved. While each parent will normally have legal representation, the children rarely have the same advocate protecting their individual rights in the divorce proceeding.

This can be a very emotional and difficult time for all parties involved, but children also have legal rights — just like their parents. A component of those rights is a reasonable expectation of growing up in an environment that nurtures a healthy emotional development for them.

However, in many divorce situations, this is not always the case. Importantly, the results can be devastating for children if this is mishandled. No one goes into a marriage planning for a divorce, but once divorce proceedings begin to move forward, a solid and well-planned divorce with the right planning tools can be a great advantage.

 Here are 6 tools that can benefit the children of divorce:

1. Child Support

It’s inevitably a fact that it takes money to live, and dependent children need financial support as well as emotional support from their parents. Regardless of child support assignments, a designated amount of money for support is always included in a divorce decree.

Actually, the child support often begins at the time of the legal separation. This defines exactly what the financial responsibilities of each parent is. Child support amounts can also be readdressed when the paying parent experiences changes in earning potential. Increases in parental income can equal a greater adjustable support benefit for the dependent children.

2. Tax Dependency

This part of the agreement can also benefit the children of divorce with tax dependence assignments, which is no small matter when an Earned Income Credit tax break is applicable for parents on their IRS statements.

This can ensure that children benefit greater at times when the income power of the affected parent is greater, and it can be crucial in families when one parent is already remarried and has another completely separate family. This is normally assessed at the time of child support responsibility assignment.

3. Housing Arrangements

Sometimes housing is not necessarily a component of a divorce decree, but that is not true when wealthy individuals are divorcing. Families with multiple homes have options that other families may not.

This tool in a divorce decree can provide appropriate housing for children, and very often in the very house in which they are accustomed to living. This is an excellent method of maintaining some family continuity after the divorce is complete.

4. Asset Assignment

Many families have a considerable amount of assets to be distributed in a divorce, and an effective and balanced divorce decree can set definite assignment of clear assets as well as liabilities. Debts are divided just like assets, but clear assets can be a real advantage for children who have access to property that can make their lives better.

Children of divorce are rarely equal, and those who are legally entitled to property and resources can have those resources protected for later use after becoming of age. A good divorce decree will include this tool, especially when the court decides to intercede as an advocate for a minor child entitled to significant financial amounts.

5. The Parenting Plan

Gone are the days when states routinely assign custody of all dependent children with the mother. The dynamic of the American family has changed drastically in the past twenty years, and states have changed the manner in which they dissolve marriages that include minor children. In many cases, the mother is actually the primary income earner in the family, and the father has supplied home responsibilities.

In addition, we live in a very mobile society and divorced parents are often living in distant locations. Nolo defines a parenting plan as “a document that sets out the parents’ agreements about how they will share time with their children” in a divorce. A good parenting plan will designate when the children are with each parent, including important interpersonal quality time and the transfer responsibilities of each parent. The best method of exercising an amiable separation is planning in advance, especially with respect to the parenting plan for the children.

An experienced family lawyer can also help you understand how this document works and can help you generate one.

6. An Experienced Family Lawyer

A skilled attorney that specializes in family law is another tool that benefits families and children of divorce. The importance of a professional attorney during this time cannot be emphasized enough for the best emotional stability and legal outcome for the entire family.

According to the law firm of George C. Malonis, “Divorce can be an extremely stressful and overwhelming time under the best of circumstances, and parents who are struggling with decision making and conflict may need guidance from an outside source who can take a different perspective and approach.”

Even when a couple in the midst of a split agree on many of the issues or decisions that need to be made to dissolve a marriage, the process is still complicated and expert legal guidance is needed. This is why it is so important to every divorcing family to maintain as much stability in the process as possible by contacting an experienced family lawyer who can assist in a comprehensive divorce decree. They will coordinate the provision of legal tools and much of the support necessary to improve the emotional health of the entire family.

Disclosure

Holly Chavez is a multidisciplinary writer who enjoys writing entertaining and offbeat articles for families to enjoy. You can catch up to her on twitter @hollyleichavez

Comments

  1. With so many marriages ending in divorce and so many children affected, I think these tips will help many people.

  2. I did have a divorce at a time when I had children. Many of the things you mention here were part of the property settlement rather than the actual divorce decree. I can only say that from my experience divorcing when I had a child who was 3 made me try harder than I ever would of to be a good father to my daughter (I had joint custody in a relatively amicable divorce). That doesn’t mean it was a good experience for her but I think it was better than the experience of living with two parents under the same roof who didn’t get along.

    • holly Chavez says:

      H Ken, You bring up a good point, and it is very hard to live with 2 parents that don’t get along and that happened to me growing up. Thanks for reading!

    • I see your point Ken. It not good for children to experience their parents always fighting either. Just have to make the best of a bad situation.

  3. Hi Krystle and Holly
    I am so sorry that so many marriages end in divorce and that children have to suffer because of it. You’ve touched on some very important points. The one thing – which isn’t a legal issue – but an important one. So often children take on guilt, thinking they are to blame, which of course they are not. A difficult situation for everyone involved.

    • holly Chavez says:

      Hi Lenie, you’re right. There are so many marriages ending in divorce these days. Sadly, so many children are affected by it, too.

    • Very true Lenie! Kids often don’t understand that it’s not their fault. Sometimes people just don’t get along anymore.

  4. Jacqueline Gum says:

    There were no kids involved in my divorce, but I must say that I was shocked as the realization dawned on me, that in the eyes of this court, this was merely a contract and not the lives of 2 people who had spent 16 years together. But I have many friends who divorced with kids and these tips are absolutely essential!

    • holly Chavez says:

      Hi Jacqueline. Yes, there is so much sadness involved in the breakup of families, and the legalities of the dissolution of the marriage is just a contract. Seems wrong, especially where children are involved that an almost disinterested system has a hand in people’s future like that.

    • Yeah, it’s sad that the courts just look at a marriage as a legal matter. It’s totally different when young lives are involved though.

  5. I did have children – 11 and 13 – when I divorced. That kept me married longer than I would have otherwise. Actually it was the kids who said, “Mom, we think it would be good if you separated.” I think it was the next day that I filed! These tips would have been helpful but we muddled through. We were always able to discuss everything.

    • holly Chavez says:

      Hi Beth. My parents did the same, and I never spoke out that they should have divorced. They divorced when my younger brother was 12, and it was very hard for him. I was already 18. I was glad when they did because they were very unhappy. Thanks for commenting.

    • That’s great you had such good communication. It’s essential to make it through.

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