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Melissa A. Featherston

Child custody and the mental and emotional health of kids

A divorce can have a major impact on children, and protecting the well being of the youngest members of the family is often the main concern of most Missouri families. It is important to be attuned to the emotional and mental needs of the children during and after a divorce. While these are serious concerns, parents can be encouraged to know that there are things that they can do to help their children adjust to new child custody arrangements.

Children often feel discouraged by the sudden change in their homes when they must move or one parent makes separate living arrangements. This can greatly disturb their routine, and even the news of an impending divorce can result in behavioral changes and mood swings, depending on the age of the child. Studies show that it can take years for children to completely adjust to a divorce, but it can help significantly when they are allowed to maintain a strong relationship with both parents.

A well-considered child custody order is based on the best interests of the children. It should never be based on the emotional stresses and legal disputes between the parents. Parents can also protect their children from undue divorce trauma by being available to talk and answer questions, putting the needs of the kids first and allowing for regular and meaningful contact with both parents.

The effects of divorce on children can be minimized with a concerted effort to resolve child custody matters quickly and without putting children through a difficult litigation process. Working with a Missouri family law attorney can ensure that parental rights are protected during divorce. The end of a marriage can be hard, but it is possible and beneficial to place the needs of the kids first. 

Source: cpancf.com, "Effects of Divorce on Children", Lesley Foulkes-Jamison, Aug. 14, 2016

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