Divorce is difficult for everyone in the family, but a child’s perspective on the event will affect their physical, emotional and psychological well-being long after it is over. These issues often play out in missed developmental stages, lowered academic performance, withdrawal and chronic problems with social interaction.
While a divorce in Connecticut will affect everyone involved, couples whose contentious relationship plays out in chronic arguments and shouting matches also create stressors for their children. In these cases, or where there is evidence of domestic violence, getting out of the marriage is by far the best outcome.
Windham County residents can find valuable tips on how to lay a healthy groundwork that will help their children cope with the consequences of divorce.
Best interests of the child factors in Connecticut
Custody decisions must involve factors that determine what is in the best interests of the child. Under Connecticut laws, these include:
- Emotional ties of each parent to the child.
- The willingness of each parent to encourage visitation with the other parent.
- The parenting ability of each party.
- Parent’s credibility, including signs of coercive behavior and effect on the children.
- Ability of each parent to facilitate the growth of the child.
- Parenting and lifestyle.
Whether the couple decides on litigating the divorce or going through a mediated process, the focus for custody decisions must be on adequately meeting the needs of the children. In Connecticut, both sole and joint legal or physical custody is possible, but deciding what is in the child’s best interest is the priority in making such decisions.
Physical custody encompasses the nurturing and support of the child’s physical and emotional needs, whereas legal custody involves decisions concerning the child’s educational and religious formation and health concerns.
Minimizing the impact of divorce on the children
No matter their age, the children of divorce face challenges that can put them at a disadvantage if parents do not anticipate these issues and address them in a timely fashion. These children face more health-related issues that can include more injuries, accidents and physical illness than children in two-parent homes. They are also twice as likely to develop mental disorders, leading to risky behaviors and suicidal thoughts.
For the parents, minimizing conflict and deciding to cooperate on behalf of the children will go a long way toward normalizing a new lifestyle after divorce. Counseling services can help in the transition, but most importantly, keeping communications open with your child and sharing feelings can significantly help support them during this time.