There is no ‘perfect’ time to announce that you and your spouse have decided to separate or divorce. If you are contemplating divorce and you have children, you may be concerned about beginning this major life transition as the school year starts. It may help you to understand that you are not alone. The beginning of the school year is one of the most common times of year for individuals to file for divorce.
According to research undertaken by sociologists at the University of Washington and presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, more individuals file for divorce immediately following the winter holidays and the summer holidays than other individuals do at any other time of year.
The divorce process takes time – which can be a good thing
While adjusting to this transition will not always be easy for your children, it is important to understand that you almost certainly have time to transition them to two households in whatever ways work best for your family. As your divorce process progresses, your attorney can aid you in setting up temporary legal protections regarding property and custody arrangements. In addition, you can use this initial time period to contemplate what kind of parenting agreement will best serve your children’s interests.
As your children adjust to the news of your impending divorce, you can discuss any custody, support and parenting concerns you have with your attorney and with your spouse. No arrangements need to be set in stone from the word “go.” On the contrary, as the school year progresses, you and your spouse may find that your children’s unique needs and circumstances will help to guide you in crafting the custody arrangement and parenting agreement that will best suit them individually.
It is important to listen and to speak up
The divorce process can be stressful and complex. But if you make conscious effort to watch and listen to your children as they adjust, you will place yourself in a better position to advocate on their behalf. If you find that your child is struggling in school in the wake of your family’s transition, do not hesitate to speak with his or her teacher about what can be done to support your child’s wellbeing and academic success. Similarly, you may discover that your child may benefit from a counselor or additional time with their other parent.
No matter what time of year you opt to file for divorce, it is important to engage a support system around you, both for your own benefit and for your child’s. Your attorney will be an important support for both of you, but others in your community and circle of loved ones may prove to be important sources of support as well.