While New Jersey parents who are getting a divorce cannot prevent it from affecting their children, they can help their children at this time. First, it is important for parents to tell the children about the divorce when they have made their decision. They need to do so calmly, and it is best if they can be there together. The conversation should be particular to the child’s age and personality.

Children might react immediately, or they may have a delayed reaction. They may have many questions about how their lives will be affected, such as where they will live, what holidays will be like, whether they can still keep their friends and how their daily activities will change.

Parents can encourage their children to be honest about their feelings and help them express themselves. They should support them and validate their emotions. They should also avoid conflict with the other parent in front of their children. Divorce details should be kept private, and parents must take steps to take care of their own health as well. Ideally, parents should agree on rules between households, but if they cannot, parents should still try to be consistent with their children in their own homes.

Parents might also be able to lay the groundwork for a healthy co-parenting relationship during negotiations over child custody and visitation. It is often possible to reach an agreement without going to litigation. Parents can also include information in their parenting plan that might help them navigate co-parenting after the divorce, such as deciding on a method of communication and making a plan for conflict resolution. Their respective family law attorneys can help them with these negotiations.