After practicing family law for 27 years, it is still upsetting to watch the damage that is done to children when their parents go through a separation. Even when parents think they are doing everything right, their children can be the collateral damage.
If you are being honest, you know that when you are angry or upset, your kids see it and feel it. If you are an emotional wreck because you are always stressed worrying about your divorce, of course it is going to affect how you talk to your kids. It may mean you are simply unhappy and how can that not be obvious to them? Or worse, that you are always angry and they get the brunt of it.
The worse cases are the ones where parents tell their kids “their side of the story”. For example: “I pay support to your Mother, so ask her to buy it for you” or “I cannot afford to buy that for you because your Father won’t pay me.” Putting your kids in the middle of your issues simply shifts your stress and worry onto them. It leaves them in the middle, not knowing who to believe or blame…and powerless to do anything about it.
The longer a case drags on, the great the impact on the children. I cannot count the number of clients I have spoken to that tell me how their parents were divorced. Sadly, 10 to 20 years later they can recite the details of their parent’s divorce. And they are telling this to a divorce lawyer because history has repeated itself – just as their parents did, they are getting divorced.
Please realize that the way you handle your divorce will have lifelong effects on your kids. Not just the obvious effect that if you spend all your money on a divorce war, then you have no money for your kids. The larger impact is how they will deal with conflict and their relationships as they become adults.
Do your kids a big favor – sit down and get a reasonable deal worked out. Then you both can move on with your new lives and be your best self for them.