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Supporting children emotionally during and after divorce

Missouri parents who are considering ending their marriages often delay doing so because they worry about how their children will cope with the separation. Some exes find it helpful to keep the advice of family therapists in mind when trying to help their children through the divorce process.

Support and custody issues can cause parents to constantly fight and argue, even when their children are present. One parent may ask the kids to spy on their other parent in order to get information that could be used as leverage. Even parents who try to avoid getting their children involved in their conflicts may let negative comments slip about their ex-spouses.

These behaviors often make divorce harder on kids. Adversarial environments can make an already stressful situation even more difficult to cope with. Children may feel as though they must engage in unhealthy scheming or spying behavior to earn a parent's approval. They may also begin trying to manipulate their parents' feelings of guilt. These conditions ultimately create confusion, depression and anxiety.

When parents behave civilly and discourage children from taking sides in a divorce, the separation process may be much easier. Encouraging a good parent-child relationship, following through with visitation plans and co-parenting during or after divorce can give a sense of predictability in a potentially unstable time.

Even when one parent makes a good faith effort at remaining civil, the ex-spouse may be hostile and uncooperative. Denying visits or using visitation as a bargaining chip is common. In cases like this, a divorce attorney may seek emergency orders securing a client's visitation rights until the court issues a final order.

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