As readers of this family law blog know, we often post on child custody topics. Recently, we posted on whether nesting can help make child custody and divorce easier as the family still shares the family home. However, when nesting will not or cannot work, co-parents need to figure out how to make two Hackensack, New Jersey, homes feel like home. And, in this post, we will offer some advice on how to make that process a bit easier.
Prepare physically and mentally
First, before broaching the divorce topic with your children and building your two homes into feeling like home for your children, you need to do some leg work. The physical leg work refers to trying to physically bridge the pre-divorce and post-divorce life. This is done by figuring out how to keep your kids in the same school, social circles, etc., for as long as possible. This may be holding off on moving until school starts, ensuring one of the parents stays in the school district, etc.
Second, do the mental leg work. This refers to finding a mental health professional who specializes in or has experience with children of actively divorcing parents. Having your children in active talks with a professional can help mentally bridge the gap between pre-divorce and post-divorce life.
The transition phase
Now that you have done the leg work, next is the transition phase. Talk with your children about what comes next and how you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse will bridge the gap for your Hackensack, New Jersey, children. Be honest, and let your kids ask questions. Next, talk with them about what makes this home a home to them, and try to keep an inventory of what you can take with you and leave some for the other parent’s home.
The new homes
Bring your kids with you as you look at new places. Incorporate them in the home renting or buying process. Make them feel like they have a say. When you buy/rent, bring them. Let them “sign,” and be part of the process. Take them with you when you go furniture shopping, even if it is just thrift store treasure hunting.
Bringing it all together
Once you are in your new Hackensack, New Jersey, homes, bring everything together. They should already be in therapy and going about their daily lives. Carve out their own space (their own bedroom or just a separate space) and incorporate their mementos from the old family home. Making your children part of the process can go a long way to making them feel like they have a choice and mitigating a lot of the anxiety they feel.