With divorce or separation comes many changes. Daily routines must change by necessity, and expectations must also adapt. These changes can greatly upset the dynamics of a family, and this is rarely truer than when children are involved. Arguably, the children are often affected the most as they now must adapt to living in two homes simultaneously as one parent creates a new home while the other modifies their existing one. Both scenarios represent tremendous change, and change is not easy for most people, especially for children who have little say in what happens around them. This can result in internal chaos for the children who may exhibit it as anger, depression, withdrawal, confusion, or all of the above.
A family law attorney, like a divorce lawyer in Cypress, TX from Winfrey Law Firm, can help parents understand the legal ramifications and requirements that must be met post-divorce, but a counselor can help the family members transition into that new paradigm. One of the priorities that a family attorney may stress is that for the non-custodial parent to qualify for child visitation rights, they must establish a new home that provides the child with their own bedroom and safe living space. The laws are vague on the details, as they are meant to be interpreted on an individual basis. However, a court will look unfavorably on a parent who does not meet the basic requirements. The non-custodial parent may find themselves with added financial obligations in having to pay child support as well as spousal support in addition to rent or mortgage for their own home that includes at least one additional bedroom for their child’s visits.
The New Home
The parent who moves out of the house will essentially create a new life for themselves: they will be single, they will live in a new home, and they will only have their children for visits if they are not granted primary custody. It can be an awkward time as they create new routines for themselves and carve a “new normal” for their life. It is likely to be equally awkward for the child or children as they will be introduced to this new home though their parent is obviously familiar. The dynamics may be further complicated should either parent begin dating.
What can help aid in the transition for all involved is a licensed and trained family therapist. Individual as well as group sessions can be arranged, creating a safe place for all to express their thoughts, feelings, hopes, and fears. A therapist may also offer the tools they need to communicate with one another about topics that trigger their vulnerability and fears. During this time, clarity may come in the form of a better understanding of what is needed for the child to feel welcome in the new home. It can also bring relief to the parent, particularly if they are burdened with guilt that is real or perceived.
If you are facing divorce, consider engaging the services of a family therapist in conjunction to working with a family law attorney.