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Helping children through a divorce

Arizona parents whose marriage is coming to an end and who are concerned about how their children might react to a divorce may want to take some steps to help them adjust. Parents should make an effort to not argue in front of their children or say anything negative about the other parent. Instead, they should react positively when children speak about their interactions with the other parent. Children may need to ask questions and might benefit from counseling.

The initial conversation with the children about the divorce should be done with both parents present if possible. Children need reassurance that their parents love them and that they will be secure. One way to help with children's stability is for them to remain in the home and for the parents to take turns living in the home. Parents may need to obtain a temporary custody and support order. This will outline the arrangements until a more permanent plan is put into place.

Another consideration is whether timing the divorce during a certain part of the year might help. For example, parents might decide summer is better because children will be out of school and might be better able to cope with the situation. Parents may also want to consider mediation rather than turning to litigation since this could mitigate conflict.

Parents may want to opt for both joint physical and joint legal custody. This means that the child will spend roughly equal time with each parent and that both parents will also have the authority to make major decisions about issues such as the child's religion, education and health care. Sometimes parents opt for one to be the custodial parent while they share legal custody. If this is the case, the other parent may have visitation rights and might be required to pay child support.

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