Navigating a Divorce with Infants and Toddlers
Divorce can be a challenge when it is limited to a couple with no children. Divorcing with older children or adult children can put undue burdens on them. But divorcing with young children, infants, or toddlers can seem insurmountable. Toddlers and infants thrive on routine and consistency. They need a safe, loving environment to learn and grow. This can be difficult to maintain as a young child’s parents are dealing with animosity, disagreement, and dispute. How do you navigate child custody when your child is still an infant? How do you explain to a young toddler why they are transported back and forth multiple times a week, or why their parents do not love each other anymore? The most important item you can remember is to be civil, be respectful, and do not argue in front of your kids.
Tips for Divorcing with Young Children
Divorce is not easy for anyone, but it can be extremely tumultuous when young children are involved. Young toddlers thrive on consistency, regular schedules, sleeping in the same crib or bed each night, and seeing a familiar face in the morning. It can be difficult to explain to a toddler why one parent will be living in another place, why they suddenly have two rooms, or why some toys are at mommy’s house and other toys are at daddy’s home. Similarly, infants may need constant access to their mother if they are breastfed, making shared physical custody virtually impossible. Infants need a highchair, diapers, a crib, a safe place to play and crawl, along with a car seat. Divorced parents will need to find room in the budget to purchase duplicates of all the child’s items or decide which parent will have primary custody. At the same time, infant bonding requires meaningful time to be spent with the baby, and that can be difficult to come by if one parent has primary custody and the other parent has visitation. Remember that the court will seek a resolution that is in the best interest of the child, no matter the age. Also keep in mind that one party can seek a modification to a child support or child custody order if circumstances have significantly changed.
Maintaining a Safe, Stable, Loving Home
If you are legally separated and want to move forward with a divorce, speak to your children candidly, at their level, in words they will understand. Explain that even though mommy and daddy are no longer a couple, you are still your child’s parents, and always will be, and that your love for your child is unconditional. Also explain that even though logistically things may change, you are still a family. However, if your ex is being combative, physically or emotionally abusive towards you or your child, or refuses to communicate or compromise, you may need to involve the courts. If abuse is ongoing or escalating, you can seek a protective order. If your ex refuses to compromise, litigation gives you several options. Our lawyers at Eveland & Foster can use discovery measures and request a pre-trial mediation or settlement conference to discuss issues in the presence of a judge or magistrate. We can also work on your behalf to achieve mutually attainable goals and find a solution in the best interest of your child.
Schedule a Consultation Today
If your soon-to-be ex spouse is unstable, combative, abusive, or threatening, it is important that you seek refuge for yourself and your child(ren). If you are already legally separated, your ex may become obstinate, irate, or demanding regarding child custody arrangements. Even if you have a handshake agreement with them, nothing can substitute a court-ordered child custody and child support agreement. Our attorneys at Eveland & Foster will help you navigate the divorce process, protect your rights, and advocate for the best interest of your child. Schedule a consultation today.