Getting Through Divorce: Children Come First
Below, Alice Benton explains how during divorce, love conquers all.
Stating that you should: “Love your child more that you hate your ex-spouse or risk damaging your child and/or losing parenting time”, Alice expands on how children should be at the center of every decision made.
As a divorce attorney and guardian ad litem appointed by the Court to help determine custody cases, I often hear and repeat to my clients, “Love your child more than you hate your ex”. This advice is key to every successful outcome in a custody case. We might or might not have 50/50 parenting time with our child. Each case is different, but all are the same. What we do as parents and how we interact with our co-parent must be viewed through the lens of what is in the best interest of the child.
Every research article I’ve read and every therapist I’ve heard speak on the subject explains that children exposed to high levels of conflict between parents (during and post divorce) are at greater risk for emotional and behavioral problems
Co-parenting is no easy feat for many parents that are going through traumatic divorce — a relationship that may have been blindsided by a spouse committing adultery or being financially irresponsible. The anger and hurt are real and not easy or quick to dissipate. The apology may never come from the offending spouse. Unfortunately, the one left in the wake of destruction of the marriage — left behind to pick up the pieces of a shattered life — is now being told by their lawyer, therapist, guardian ad litem/custody evaluator, or co-parenting coordinator to be gracious, loving, and forgiving towards a perpetrator for the benefit of the children.
Every research article I’ve read and every therapist I’ve heard speak on the subject explains that children exposed to high levels of conflict between parents (during and post divorce) are at greater risk for emotional and behavioral problems than other children not exposed to this conflict. Parents sometimes inflict pain intentionally and overtly by bad-mouthing the other parent to the children. Sometimes pain in inflicted more furtively: “you’re just like your mom” or “you cannot bring that backpack or outfit to my home because your father purchased it.” It is just as damaging to a child to have the rejection of a parent (and therefore the rejection of ½ of their own DNA) as it is to outright bash a parent in front of the child.
Judges, guardians ad litem, and custody evaluators look to see what is in the best interests of the children.
Knowing that failing to co-parent may be emotionally detrimental to children, are you willing to make a change? Such a change may be the greatest challenge a parent will face. Guidance from a therapist or co-parenting coordinator may be useful in providing ongoing support in dealing with the person who has provoked anger. Co-parenting is not easy for many. You are different people with different ways of parenting, disciplining, and interacting with your children. However, navigating these differences is possible with compromise, a shared goal of wanting a happy and healthy life for your children, and by overcoming the anger harbored towards each other.
Hire a divorce lawyer that will commit to working through issues so that the children win.
When you are in the midst of a contentious divorce that seems like an all-out war, and guardian ad litem or even a custody evaluator is watching, it is critical to strive to “love your child more than you hate your ex…”. You will likely achieve your custody goals, have happier children, and find peace yourself. Judges, guardians ad litem, and custody evaluators look to see what is in the best interests of the children. Step back and assess your behavior. How would you view your behavior if you were the other parent? How will your children view your behavior when they look back at their childhood? How will those deciding custody issues interpret your behavior? Are you promoting your child’s relationship with your ex or attempting to destroy it?
Hire a divorce lawyer that understands that love will trump hate every time. Hire the divorce lawyer that helps you see that you need to love your child more than you hate your ex. Hire a divorce lawyer that will commit to working through issues so that the children win. Because if the children are healthy and happy, don’t you win also?
Alice E. Benton
Bldg. One, Suite 200
4200 Northside Parkway, N.W.
Atlanta, Georgia 30327
A native of Athens, Georgia, Alice comes from a family of well-known litigators, including her father, who has actively practiced law in Georgia for more than fifty years, and her brother, who is a highly successful litigation lawyer in Atlanta.
Benton Law, LLC is committed to achieving the best possible results for all of our clients through cost-effective representation, which strives for negotiation over litigation. If cases, however, cannot be resolved outside the courtroom, our extensive litigation and prosecution experience allows us to effectively and successfully represent our clients’ interests in the courtroom.