Getting Therapy for Children During Divorce

By Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

child custody attorneys in Orange CountySometimes while getting pulled into the whirlwind of a divorce, the couple or parents only focus on their emotional needs and troubles and completely forget about what their child or children must be going through during this very difficult and painful time in their lives.

Why is it important to get therapy for your child during a divorce?

No child likes to see their parents fighting, let alone getting divorced. Not only is their parents getting divorced extremely difficult for them to comprehend and digest, but having to make the difficult choice or decision of which parent he would prefer to live with is pure torment and torture for the child.

Many children of divorce grow up to lead very unfulfilling and unsatisfying lives. Some of them don’t perform well academically or grow up to be mentally and/or emotionally stunted. Some of them cannot keep normal friendships or have relationships with the opposite sex. They find it very difficult to give or accept love and understand the dynamics of maintaining any sort of relationship and this can affect them drastically at school, in the workplace and practically all walks of life.

Children have so many unanswered questions during a divorce and many times blame themselves for their parents getting divorced which can lead to a lot of anger, hatred and resentment. The child’s feelings and emotions must not be ignored or taken lightly during a divorce.

What happens during counseling?

A child counselor or psychologist will usually be asked the following questions or be put forth the following conditions by the child:

  • Do my parents still love me? I want to feel connected to them and involved in their lives.
  • Why do my parents fight so much? Can they not fight around me or on matters related to me? Because when they fight about me I feel like I am the reason they are getting divorced.
  • I don’t want them to say bad things to each other or call each other names around me. I cannot take sides between my mother and my father. It is unfair.

Courts’ involvement in child counseling

In response to this, the counselor will try to pacify and tell the child that everything will be alright in time and will communicate the child’s demands to the parents separately or together. The same is communicated to the court of law handling the particular divorce case and regular follow-up sessions with the therapist or counselor will be ordered by the judge with or without the parents’ presence or involvement. The child’s progress will be monitored.  Sessions are usually paid for by whichever parent is in a stronger financial position or expenses will be borne equally by both parents.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation.