Each year, about 1 million American children see their families changed through a divorce. The ongoing health and mental well-being of these children often depend upon how their parents interact following the end of the marriage. An experienced family law attorney can inform, guide and support you throughout the divorce and custody process.
Potential Problems in Children with Divorcing Parents
Divorce brings along with it all kinds of uncomfortable feelings, including fear, regret, anger and sadness. Parents, however, aren’t the only ones who can feel this way; children also may experience these feelings. When parents are armed with the knowledge of how to shepherd their children through the divorce process, the children fare much better.
When parents clash or stop communicating after a divorce, their children are more likely to have academic, psychological, self-esteem and social problems. Divorce education is an attempt to address these issues. Divorce education is a class or series of classes focusing on giving you and your spouse the tools to interact with each other positively after the divorce, especially when it comes to your children. The state in which you are divorcing may even require it.
What Divorce Education Programs Do
Most programs teach the following:
- Impact of family conflict on children
- Building effective parenting plans
- Developmental needs of children
- Creating new family relationships
- Developing positive co-parenting
- Preventing parent alienation syndrome
- Satisfying the child’s best interests
Participants typically report that they find the programs helpful, even if the only reason they attended was that of a court order or legal requirement to do so.
Classes for Kids
In addition to divorce education for adults, many jurisdictions have added an educational component designed to directly help children living through divorce. In the programs, children are usually divided into groups depending on their age. Being with other children experiencing the same difficulties often lets kids express their feelings. Through games, drawing and writing guided by trained facilitators, the children learn to understand the meaning of divorce in their family and cope with this significant change. Most programs provide tools for solving current problems as well as potential future difficulties.
Together, adult divorce education and children’s divorce support programs are helping to reshape the divorce landscape. Parents who attend divorce education programs are learning techniques for keeping their kids as happy and healthy as possible during and after the divorce process. Given the rate of divorce today, the efforts parents make and the accomplishments they achieve through divorce education will benefit both their children and overall society.
If you want to learn more about divorce education opportunities where you live, contact your local family court or a family law attorney with experience in child custody and visitation. A family law attorney can tell you which divorce education components are required in your state and county.