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Softening the emotional blow of divorce on children

California parents sometimes choose to remain in unhappy marriages because they worry about the impact that seeking a divorce would have on their children. Researchers have found that unfulfilled couples staying together may actually have an even more damaging effect on children, but there are things that parents can do to reduce the emotional toll of divorce. Taking proactive steps is particularly important for the parents of younger children.

Divorcing parents fare best when they are able to separate their responsibilities as mothers and fathers from their frustrations with each other. Raised voices, vitriol and arguments should be avoided when children are present, and steps should be taken to reduce disruptions and upheaval. The children of divorcing couples tend to fare particularly poorly when they are expected to adjust to a new school or home, and these subjects should be discussed at length and well in advance when they are unavoidable.

Experts say that divorcing parents are better able to prepare their children for the psychological challenges of a divorce when they have been able to overcome their own emotional issues. Spouses who have moved past their animosities may help their children to avoid the fear that lies at the root of most insecurities, and parents who look to the future with optimism could nurture the same positive outlook in others.

Divorce negotiations are often as much about timing as they are about substance. Discussions about property division or child custody can become combative very quickly, and experienced family law attorneys may seek to avoid conflict by encouraging compromise and understanding. This could be accomplished by tackling straightforward or uncontroversial issues first and sparing their clients from potentially volatile matters until they have shown a willingness to be at least somewhat flexible.

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