There is a lot to think about when going through a divorce in California. Since nearly everything earned or acquired during marriage is community property, couples need to inventory everything they have so they can split any community property equally. Determining how to split child custody is even more of a challenge, since there is no law saying that custody must be split 50-50. It is also a challenge to maintain a sense of normalcy during a divorce, but it is important for parents to try to do so for the sake of their children.
A divorce or separation will inevitably have an impact on children, especially younger children. However, there are certain behaviors that parents exhibit that can make the transition better or worse for the kids. For instance, involving children in a child custody battle will make a child feel like he or she has to choose between parents, which is a sure-fire way to cause anxiety and other emotional problems. Parents who bad-mouth each other to their children are also putting their kids in an uncomfortable situation by forcing the children to pick sides. Failing to maintain a united front also encourages kids to play their parents off against each other.
Ideally, parents should maintain similar household rules regarding things like television time or bedtime. Children do better when they have structure, and that structure should be consistent from one house to another. Parents should not be tempted to try being the “fun” parent; this does not do anyone any favors.
Sometimes it can be impossible to coordinate with an ex who is choosing to be difficult. In this situation, parents should focus on how they want their relationship with their kids to develop, rather than fixating on a fight with an ex. A family law attorney can handle some battles on behalf of a parent, such as child custody, to help minimize the need for direct communications between parents.