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Preparing children for divorce

New Jersey parents who are getting a divorce may be concerned about how their children will be affected, but there are things they can do to help children get used to the change. One is to pay attention to timing. For example, summer might be a good time for some parents to file for divorce because children are out of school and they can help them adjust. On the other hand, parents may prefer to do so during the school year so that they can go to attorneys' meetings without disrupting children's schedules.

Parents should try to focus on not fighting when children are around. They should put temporary orders in places dealing with child custody and support. These arrangements may vary depending on their situation and may change once the divorce is final. For example, parents might want to consider taking turns living in the home they share while the children live there full time. Even a parent who has left the family is obligated to provide support for the children.

Above all, parents should focus on making sure their children feel secure and loved. A conversation with them about the divorce should ideally be done by both parents and give the children the opportunity to ask any questions they may have.

Parents should also keep these guidelines in mind when they negotiate a parenting plan that will cover coparenting after the divorce. The parenting agreement should not be so detailed as to be inflexible, but it may need to cover topics such as holidays, vacations and extracurricular activities. Parents might also want to include a plan for conflict resolution. For example, they might decide to go to mediation if they cannot resolve a disagreement.

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