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Answering divorce questions in the best interest of the child

| Apr 17, 2014 | Child Custody |

The most difficult questions always come from children, and sometimes it takes a great deal of tact and thoughtfulness for an Illinois parent to answer them. Especially when it comes to answering questions regarding divorce, parents who are keeping the best interest of the child in mind must exercise a tremendous amount of care. Questions from children can be difficult to ponder for the parent as well. For example, how does one answer questions about whether one will get back together with an ex-spouse again?

Perhaps the most common (and most difficult) question, however, is when a child asks why his or her mother and father got divorced. Giving the real reason here could be overly harsh for the innocent ears of a child to say the least. Keeping one’s answer to this question general, and stressing how mom and dad used to love each other a great deal, but they changed overtime and eventually grew apart, would be one way of approaching this difficult question. Bringing the emphasis back to one’s children, how the separation did not affect mom and dad’s incredible love for their children and that they will both always be there for them is also important.

Another question, which may be easier to answer is when a child asks if his mom and dad were in love when they had him. This is always an excellent opportunity to inform one’s child about how it was when their parents met each other. For example, what did mom like about dad and vice versa. Children always enjoy hearing the silly stories from when their parents started dating. Finally, the knowledge that his mother and father were in love when they had him is the best gift a parent can give to a child.

The truth is, no cookie-cutter answer exists for these kinds of questions, and divorce is going to be a difficult road for children, parents and everyone else in the family. Nevertheless, a bit of thoughtfulness will go a long way to address the concerns of children appropriately. Keeping an attitude of unselfishness and re-assuring the child that both parents love him or her equally is also key.

There are also legal strategies that can be employed during the divorce process to ensure that the separation goes as smoothly as possible for everyone involved. Especially when children are involved, keeping the best interest of the child in mind is of paramount importance, and no court or family law judge will disagree with such a notion. Even in the event that one spouse is difficult to deal with and more adversarial, strategies like divorce mediation can help to bring reconciliation and peace during this stressful time.

Source: Niles Herald-Spectator, “Divorced Girl Smiling: How to answer your kids’ hardest divorce questions” Jackie Pilossoph, Apr. 10, 2014

View the profile of Illinois Family Law Attorney Alex Fawell
DCBA | DuPAGE County Bar Association Member
Lead Counsel Rated Attorney