Divorce can be difficult for many children in California, especially if parents are unable to focus on their children and instead allow their conflicts to interfere with their ability to establish a coparenting relationship. How children see their parents treating one another during and after a divorce lays the groundwork for how they will approach relationships in their own lives.

This means it is important for parents to try to set aside their own conflict and help their children through divorce. Divorce can bring up a number of different emotions for children. They may be angry, sad or guilty, but parents can help them work through this. Parents can also model how to resolve conflict by setting aside their differences to raise their children in a healthy environment.

According to studies, the main reason divorce is hard on children is because of the conflict between parents. How quickly their adjustment happens is affected by whether parents can effectively coparent. Some parents are able to do this by thinking of their coparenting relationship as a business arrangement in which the child is the business. Parents should support one another’s relationship with the child, remain flexible and make wise choices about when to raise issues with the other parent.

Conflict between parents about the child can start during the process of making a decision about child custody. However, this does not have to inevitably be the course of the divorce. Parents may be able to reach an agreement through mediation or a collaborative divorce. Even if the decision over custody ends up in litigation, parents can commit to focusing on the best interests of the child and creating a functional coparenting relationship after the divorce.