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How to protect kids through and after divorce

Divorce can be tough on kids. As a parent, you want to focus on protecting them and helping them through the process. Your child custody agreement and parenting plan go a long way toward accomplishing this.

There are a few main risk factors that can make a divorce incredibly negative for a child. They include the following:

-- A child who is forced into a poor economic situation.-- A child whose parents will not stop fighting.-- A child who basically loses one parent, as that person doesn't stay in touch.-- A child who ends up with two irresponsible parents who aren't willing or able to do it on their own, perhaps reverting to the way they lived when they were single.

As you can see from these four major issues, children need a stable home life with parents who care about them. That gives them economic stability, responsible parents, contact with both parents and people who are dedicated to loving the children, not fighting with each other.

Even when two parents don't want to stay married, they need to remember to do what they can to provide this upbringing. This is why the courts usually try to ensure that both parents have custody or visitation rights, allowing them both to see the child. It's also why child support is used to make sure that the financial situation remains stable and the child's basic needs are provided for.

As you go to court, it's important to know not only what your rights are as a parent, but how you can work out a parenting plan that puts the child's best interests first.

Source: Aha Parenting, "Divorce: How to Protect Your Child," accessed Nov. 11, 2016

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