Kajko, Weisman & Colasanti, LLP

Can divorcing parents learn from the Brangelina custody battle?

As a parent who is divorcing in Massachusetts, and you may be wondering how to address your custody issues in a way that prevents your child from undergoing emotional stress. Unless you are part of a high profile couple, you are probably not being subjected to close media scrutiny such as that directed at Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Still, that family will have some of the same challenges as you and your spouse in helping their children deal with the fallout from the split.

According to CBS News, one psychologist points out that divorcing parents such as Pitt and Jolie will need to address the emotional challenges with each child based on age. For example, if your child is a teen, he or she may be more likely to lose trust in you and the other parent, and display rebellious behavior. Experts recommend that you remain alert to your child’s activities, and enforce firm boundaries to prevent any permanent consequences to temporary acting out.

A child between the ages of 10 and 12 may feel the need to take sides against you or your former spouse, and is likely to align with the parent of the same sex. At this age, children often benefit from verbal reassurances of your love, as do younger school-age children. If you have a child in the elementary grades, you should provide reassurance that he or she did nothing to contribute to the divorce, although it is best not to go into details, since children of this age are often not equipped to handle the circumstances of the split.

Pre-schoolers and infants need as much routine and contact from both you and your spouse as the two of you can provide, and even older children and teens benefit from a schedule that provides continuity.

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