Child custody battles are usually never an easy process. The tension, stress, & toll it takes on everyone involved can be severe. Learn about how custody battles affect children.
The end of a marriage through divorce can be an emotionally trying experience for the two adults. Child custody usually follows when there are children involved. After all, the divorcing spouses are essentially ending a relationship that they once believed would last a lifetime. Their finances, living situation, debts and other factors are up in the air or changing dramatically. In fact, if you are going through a divorce right now, it may seem as though most aspects of your life are changing and that you feel very ungrounded. As tumultuous as a divorce can be for adults, children who are watching their parents go through a divorce can also face tremendous issues.
Many divorcing parents each want custody of their children for understandable reasons. In some cases, child custody laws are complicated or complex, and there is not always a clear-cut solution for sharing custody of children between the two parents. A custody issue becomes more complicated when one or both of the parents believes strongly that the other parent is not fit in some way to care for the children. Parents can feel incredibly emotional about this matter, which can add to their own level of stress related to the divorce. However, custody battles can also wreak havoc on children in various ways. By being aware of the potential impacts that divorce and custody issues can have on children, you can take steps to mitigate them These are some of the more common effects that a child custody dispute can have on children.
During a custody battle, children may hear both parents speaking poorly about the other parent at times. This may include direct words said to the children as well as words spoken to other people that they overhear. For example, you may be speaking to your family lawyers on the phone, and a child may overhear you cite specific concerns about the other parent’s ability to properly care for the children. Many children understandably feel intense confusion and stress related to this type of situation.
Confusion also comes into play when custody lawyers ask the court to allow children to decide or at least to offer input about their living situation. Children may not want to take sides in this type of situation, but they may feel as though they have no other choice. Understandably, children may love and respect both parents, and they may be afraid of negatively affecting their relationship with one of the parents. In addition, they may remember the negative things each parent said about the other parent. This can also feed into the level of confusion that they are feeling. If you need legal assistance you can also find additional legal aid here and you can search for a lawyer here.
Another effect of a custody battle on children may be an overwhelming sense of sadness. This sadness may stem from the fact that their parents do not seem to be getting along or that their own living situation is turning upside down. They may be forced to move away from familiar surroundings and friends, and they may miss spending their full amount of time with both parents rather than only having a limited amount of time with each one. Parents may notice that it is difficult to make their children smile or laugh, and depression may become a concern. Therapy may be needed when sadness and depression become serious issues.
Custody battles can negatively affect children’s confidence levels in different ways. For example, children may have once had the full and constant support of both parents, and each parent may have encouraged them in different ways. Through a child custody issue, parental support may not always be felt at all times simply because children are not with both parents at all times. This lack of confidence may be evidenced through poor performance in sports or other extracurricular activities, lower grades at school and more. In some cases, a parent may say in a negative way that they are just like their mother or father, and this can also create a confidence issue. Parents may each need to take steps to ensure that their children feel as confident about themselves as possible.
4. Negative Perspective
While family lawyers explore how to use child custody laws to set up the most equitable and fair situation possible, your children may be developing a negative perspective about life in general because of the divorce and the custody battle. Their life may have seemed happy and even idyllic despite the issues that you may have been having in your marital relationship. A family is a core unit in a child’s life, and issues with family life can play a major role in how optimistic or pessimistic your children are about many aspects of their life. In addition, some children may be aware that they are the topic of the custody dispute, and this could make them feel negative about themselves.
5. Development Risks
The development risks that your children face during a divorce may be related to the length of the custody battle and how emotionally charged it is. The risks may also be impacted by the age of your children. For example, younger children who do not understand what is going on may feel insecure and even fearful about their future, and this could cause issues with emotional development, communication development and more. Older children may have identity issues or may even fall into the wrong crowd in a rebellious streak.
6. Age Matters
Children who are caught up in an emotional and charged custody battle may face different issues at various ages, and parents should do their best to work together as much as possible for the betterment of the children. For example, open and honest communication is important between the parents, because age matters can change circumstances and even cause stress for all involved. Children may start to act more or less mature than their age because of the absence of two parental figures at all times as they were previously accustomed to.
7. Level of Conflict
Just as the parents may have disputes with each other through custody lawyers, children can also feel more combative. The level of conflict that parents have with children and that siblings have with each other can increase. Children may see the negativity and conflict associated with divorce as the norm instead of the results of a very traumatic life event that will eventually come to an end, and they may have trouble adjusting to many situations or difficulty maintaining healthy relationships as a result.
When a family is torn apart by a divorce, stability is not usually available in abundance. Children may not feel as though their home life is stable. Their daily or weekly routine may be disrupted. In some cases, the lifestyle level that they have been accustomed to may decline because both parents individually must use their income to support their individual lifestyles. Additional instability may be felt by the fact that they are shuffling back and forth between the different homes of their parents. The apparent lack of stability can create stress for children. When discovering parents are engaged in a custody battle, they should keep the needs and overall experiences of the children in mind. More than that, they should try to minimize the negative impacts of divorce on their children as much as possible.