Emotional reactions to shared custody

Once a couple has gone through a Massachusetts divorce, many fathers feel as if the most difficult part of the process is behind them, and that there will be smooth sailing ahead. Unfortunately, many are surprised to find that there effects from a divorce and shared custody arrangement can linger long after the paperwork is complete, and are ill-equipped to handle the emotional reactions that they experience. It is important to recognize that there will be long-term ramifications associated with the decision to end a marriage, in order to respond in a way that meets the needs of both father and child.

One issue that often arises involves feelings of failure. After a divorce, it is common for both parents to feel as if they have failed as a family. This can arise during predictable times, such as holidays, or can seemingly come from nowhere. In some cases, parents can discuss these feelings together, and gain a sense of reassurance that the choices made were best for all involved. This level of communication between divorced parents is not always possible, however, and some fathers may want to work with a counselor if feelings of failure do not subside.

Another consideration facing many divorced fathers who share custody is a sense of having little to no control over the home environment of their former spouse. In many cases, both parents will move forward into new relationships. If those relationships become serious, there is a high likelihood that another man will be playing a supporting role in the lives of one’s children. This can be difficult to accept, but in most cases having another loving adult in their lives is a good thing for children. It is important that fathers are able to accept and promote these new relationships in order to allow their kids to feel comfortable opening up the other parent’s new partner.

While many Massachusetts spouses believe that divorce will bring an end to the emotional turmoil of an unhappy marriage, in many cases there are new difficulties that will arise. Shared custody is a difficult path to navigate, and each family is unique. However, if both parents are able to focus on the needs of their shared children, it is possible to move beyond divorce and into a co-parenting arrangement that works for all involved.

Source: Huffington Post, 14 Things No One Tells You About Divorce, No author, Nov. 11, 2013

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