In the 21st century, divorce is a far more common practice than it was in the previous millennia, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. On the surface, it may look like more marriages are failing, but in reality, this simply reflects the fact the more relationships that weren’t working aren’t being forced to work for several more years to the detriment of everyone, especially children.

But if there are children that are involved in a divorce case, this is going to be an unavoidably difficult time for him, her, or them. A once solid family unit is about to break up, and there are permanent lifestyle changes that are going to accompany this. One of the biggest changes will be living with one parent or another.

Every divorce is going to be different, and some people will have a better dynamic with their partner than others when it comes to the specifics of arranging the divorce. However, for couples that already have children, one thing that should be done if it is at all possible is to come to an amicable agreement about the custody of the children.

Why This Matters

As unfortunate as it is, in many cases, some degree of emotional trauma in a child over the split of a family is unavoidable. ” Damage control,” in this case, is the only reasonable response, understanding that while it is impossible to carry out a divorce without distress or upset, what is possible to contain is the extent and seriousness of that emotional damage. A divorce can be a sad experience that is tinged with regret in an otherwise loving childhood, or it can be a major fracture point that forever breaks-and reshapes-a child’s perception of life, love and other people. Much of this hinges on what children experience during the course of the divorce.

This is why, if it is at all possible, you and your spouse or partner should try to arrive at a peaceful resolution on your own, without the intervention of a judge. If you would prefer to consult with an experienced divorce lawyer,you can certainly iron out specific needs or wishes ahead of time. You may even want a lawyer-or lawyers-present to mediate a discussion, and in some cases, this may be exactly what is needed to quickly, decisively come to a conclusion about child custody.

What you do NOT want to do if you can easily avoid it, is bring the matter of child custody to the courts and be involved in a long, protracted, potentially ugly legal battle to forcibly determine where a child or children will live after a divorce is concluded. This requires an evaluation by the state and often just adds even more confusionand trauma to an already upsetting situation for children.

We advise any parents going through a divorce to find a peaceable means of assigning custody if it is at all possible. For the children involved, this is the best way to minimize what is already an emotionally demanding ordeal.