Ways to Support Your Child During Divorce


While you may experience a flood of emotions throughout a divorce, it’s important to create a stable, healthy environment for your kid(s). No matter how much you love your child and put their well-being first, we understand this can still be overwhelming to navigate.

We’ve created a list below to help guide you through making healthy decisions for your child, one step at a time. Not every item on this list may be for you. If your divorce isn’t amicable—if you and your spouse aren’t in a place to communicate effectively and collaboratively—you may need a different approach for certain arrangements. And that’s okay! For additional support and resources, you can speak with an attorney or a mental health professional about the best ways to move forward.

1) Speak to your child as a united front:

An important first step is to sit down with your spouse and child to walk your child through what to expect during divorce. By participating in this conversation together, you and your spouse can emphasize your unconditional love for your child, while also sharing anticipated changes. Will your child be splitting their time between two houses? Will school pickups look different? These details will help provide stability and comfort as your child navigates a new routine.

2) Provide a structured schedule:

Again, if possible, we recommend that you and your spouse sit down together with your child to share scheduling changes. Even if you don’t memorialize your arrangements in an allocation judgment or court order (though we strongly recommend you do!), a set schedule is helpful for a child. It’s important they know where they are going home to and how they will continue to receive care, especially for children of a younger age.

You can also establish a transparent schedule by creating a shared calendar or by writing down day-by-day plans at home in a place your child can easily see.

3) Avoid speaking poorly about your spouse and involving your child in contentious situations:

If you’re feeling anger, resentment or similar emotions toward your spouse, try to refrain from airing your thoughts with your child. It’s important to remember that your spouse is a parent to your child, and that relationship should be honored.
If you and your spouse are at odds regarding desired outcomes of your divorce, it’s best not to involve your child in those conversations. That is not their burden to carry, and the emotional weight can have lasting effects.

4) It’s okay to ask for help:

If you don’t know how to answer your child’s questions, you can seek assistance from a Guardian Ad Litem, attorney or mental health professional.

If your child asks to speak to someone other than you and your spouse, that doesn’t mean they don’t trust you to provide sound information and support. It most likely means they are aware that they are experiencing a new life event, and they are taking the steps to address their mental health. This is good! With proper research, you can help them find a professional that they can meet with in a safe, neutral place.

5) Consider a court order/allocation judgment:

Even if you and your spouse have an amicable relationship, an allocation judgment can be beneficial. An order or allocation judgment provides structure that the entire family can adhere to. It also provides a clear plan that you can fall back on if circumstances change.

6) Self-care isn’t selfish:

Last but not least, don’t forget to care for yourself! By seeing a mental health professional and taking time to relax and do the things you love, you can strive to be your best self—and in turn, best support your child.

We’re Here for You: Contact Us Today

Navigating a divorce with a child is complex and one size doesn’t fit all. The above list is a starting guide to help you provide your child with support and structure, so they can feel comfort and clarity during a time of major change. If you’re seeking other ways to support your child through divorce, our attorneys welcome the chance to meet with you at one of our greater Chicago area offices. Give us a call to set up a free consultation. Together, we can find solutions that make sense for your unique situation.

Get in Touch

For a free consultation, call Stern Perkoski Mendez at (847) 868-9584 or contact us.