Barbara J. Katzenberg, Attorney at Law
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Empowering children in a child custody dispute

Children are more perceptive of emotions around them than adults realize. Worcester parents in the midst of a child custody dispute should understand that children are susceptible to the same stresses as parents. It's imperative that parents know how to handle the situation both emotionally and legally.

Parents should be aware that divorce can make or break a child's well-being. The anxiety can either traumatize the child or strengthen and improve the child's resolve and coping ability. Obviously parents want to aim for the latter.

Therefore, it's important to let the child openly express his or her feelings. Bottled up fear, anger and sadness may result in a child not understanding the situation and manifesting negative behavior, even in later life. Encouraging children to express themselves gives a parent the opportunity to reassure them that they are still loved and will be continuously cared for.

It's also important to try not to expose children to further conflict. While it's a given that conflict is part of a divorce, children should be excluded from witnessing the conflict as much as possible. Refrain from exposing them to marital conflict-whether face-to-face arguments or on the phone- and from talking in detail about the behavior of the other parent.

Keep in mind that a custody dispute is not a tug-of-war. The standard the court will apply is the best interest of the child. In child custody issues, a parent should keep that standard in mind when seeking to modify a child custody or child support agreement. Seeking court approval of a modification can be difficult but it is achievable if reasons for the change are valid. A Worcester family law attorney's expertise can be invaluable in drafting a modification agreement and presenting a compelling argument that it is in the best interest of the children.

Source: Huffington Post "How to Help Your Children Cope With Divorce," Michelle Rozen, June 6, 2013

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