Navigating the Complexities of Divorce When You Have a Child

parents undergoing conflict
  • Prioritize your child’s needs during divorce, ensuring open communication and a sound co-parenting plan.
  • Consider alternative dispute resolution methods like collaborative divorce, arbitration, neutral evaluation, and mediation.
  • Hire a family law attorney to navigate legal complexities and protect your child’s best interests.
  • Manage emotions during divorce by staying calm, avoiding conflict, and practicing self-care for mental well-being.

Divorce can be a complicated process for anyone to navigate, but the stakes are even higher when you’re a parent. Not only do you need to navigate the legal complexities of divorce, but you also need to consider your child’s well-being and emotional state. If you’re going through a divorce with a child involved, here are a few things you need to know to make the process as smooth as possible.

Put your child’s needs first.

mother hugging her daughter

When you’re facing a divorce, getting caught up in your own emotions and concerns can be easy. However, you must put your child’s needs first and foremost. This means considering their emotional state, relationship with both parents, and overall well-being.

Ensure you communicate with your child about what’s going on and address any concerns they may have. Work with your ex-spouse to create a co-parenting plan that will serve your child’s best interests.

Consider alternative dispute resolution methods.

Going through a traditional divorce process can be both time-consuming and stressful, especially when children are involved. So consider alternative dispute resolution methods, such as the following four:

Collaborative Divorce.

Similar to mediation, this method involves both parties using lawyers who are trained in collaborative law to negotiate agreements. Collaborative divorce is beneficial when children are involved, as it allows both parties to come to a deal without having to go through the court system.


In this option, you and your ex-spouse will choose an arbitrator who will hear both sides of the dispute before making a decision on contentious issues. This is often quicker than going through the traditional court system.

Neutral Evaluation.

This process involves both parties working with a neutral evaluator, who will listen to both sides and provide an opinion on the issues that need to be addressed. Neutral evaluation can be used in tandem with other alternatives, such as mediation or collaborative divorce.


Divorce mediation is perhaps the best-known (and most popular) alternative dispute resolution method. Opting for divorce mediation means that you and your ex-spouse will work with a neutral third-party mediator to negotiate an agreement. The mediator won’t make decisions on contested issues, but they can help facilitate discussions between the two of you.

These processes tend to be less contentious, and they also tend to be less expensive than traditional divorce litigation.

Hire a family law attorney.

Navigating the legal complexities of a divorce when you have a child can be overwhelming. To help ensure that your rights are protected and that your child’s best interests are served, it’s essential to hire a family law attorney.

An experienced attorney can help you understand your options, communicate your concerns to your ex-spouse, and negotiate agreements that serve your child’s best interests. The attorney you choose should also be experienced in alternative dispute resolution methods, so they can help you consider the best option for your situation.

Stay calm and avoid conflict.

woman listening to a man arguing

When you’re going through a divorce, tensions can run high. However, you must try to stay calm and avoid conflict as much as possible, particularly in front of your child. Hostile confrontations can harm your child’s emotional state and overall well-being. Instead, focus on clear communication, seeking compromise and common ground, and avoiding contentious issues as much as possible.

Be gentle with yourself.

Divorce can be emotionally challenging, especially when you’re trying to balance your own needs with the needs of your child. Remember to be gentle with yourself and prioritize your self-care.

This may mean seeking the support of friends and family, attending counseling sessions, or prioritizing activities that bring you happiness and relieve stress. You’ll need your emotional strength to navigate this process, so don’t neglect your needs.

It’s crucial to remember that while divorce can be a difficult journey, it’s not insurmountable. As you navigate this phase, keeping your child’s best interests in focus, exploring alternative dispute resolutions, hiring a competent family law attorney, maintaining composure, and prioritizing self-care are all essential steps to aid in the process.

It might be challenging, and some days will be more complicated than others, but remember, every step you take is one closer to a new chapter for you and your child. You can navigate to a better tomorrow with time, patience, and the right resources.

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