How Do I Put My Children’s Interest First In Divorce?

April 30, 2024  | 
By: Chad Layton, Esq.

mindful divorce children interests firstDivorce for parents is different, and it’s harder.  You ask yourself, what impact will separation and divorce have on our children?  Is there a scenario where divorce could be healthier for me and our children?  What can I do before, during and after the divorce to help our children adjust and thrive through this difficult process?

Below is a list of tips and information to help you put your children first in divorce.

1. Reconciliation

Consider all options before starting your divorce.  Couples counseling, church/clergy assistance, and trial separation are a few that you may consider before you make the final decision to go forward with your divorce.  Here is a link to good resources about alternatives to divorce:

2. Don’t Fight In Court.

If you do decide that divorce is your best option, avoid fighting in court.  Court litigation is adversarial.  Anyone that tells you differently is not being honest, or they are not qualified to give you legal advice.  

If you are dedicated to putting your children first in your divorce, you must make every effort to avoid a court battle.  

This doesn’t mean that there is no way you will end up in court.  This means that you will do everything within your control to stay outside of court.  You will turn over every rock, and you will make every effort to find a solution that doesn’t involve attacking your spouse, the parent of your children, in court.

Once you have attempted all other options, you or your spouse could be forced to initiate court litigation.  However, in my experience, it is unlikely that you will end up in court if you work through your other divorce options.  

Here is a short outline I have written on responsible options that are available to families to resolve their divorce outside of court:

How to Get Divorced Without Fighting in Court

3. Establish a Child-Centered Approach

Identify the needs and best interests of your children.  Seek out an experienced child psychologist that is collaboratively trained to help you and your spouse commit to providing a supportive and nurturing environment for your children during your divorce process and beyond. 

4. Open Communication

Maintain open and honest communication with your spouse about decisions that affect your children. Encourage dialogue and active listening to understand each other’s perspectives.

5. Co-Parenting Agreement/Parenting Plan

Work with a collaboratively trained attorney as early as possible to help you develop a comprehensive co-parenting agreement that outlines the roles, responsibilities, and expectations of you and your spouse regarding time-sharing schedules, extracurricular activities, transportation, expenses, healthcare costs, education choices, and other important matters for your children and your co-parenting agreement.

6. Parenting Plan Discussions

Work with a team of trained collaborative professionals to help you and your spouse facilitate constructive discussions and reach agreements on a healthy parenting plan that puts the interests of your children first.  This allows you and your spouse to learn what you don’t know, and to properly address all of the issues that you need to consider in developing a long term plan for you and your family to move to the next stage in your lives.

Ask your collaborative attorney to include a child specialist, such as a therapist or counselor trained in child psychology, to provide support and guidance for your children throughout the divorce process. Their insights will help address and acknowledge the emotional concerns or challenges that your children may experience during your divorce and after.

7. Parenting Classes/Family Therapy

Consider signing up for a divorce parenting class or scheduling time to speak with a family therapist to help you and your spouse, individually or jointly, to learn effective co-parenting strategies, communication techniques, and conflict resolution skills. These resources will help you both navigate co-parenting challenges during and after your divorce.

8. Family Decision-Making

Work to assure that you and your spouse are the decision makers when it comes to your children.  You and your spouse know, love, and support your children more than anyone.  Placing decisions about your children and what is best for them, and how they will spend time with you and your spouse, in the hands of a judge is not a good idea.  I have seen this play out many times over my 15-year legal career in Family Law.  

You don’t want to gamble on how a judge may decide when it comes to your children.  Work through your differences and disagreements, with a trained collaborative divorce team, to reach a compromise that is fair and that is best for your children.  

Don’t put this decision in the hands of someone else.  They will surely do a worse job than you and your spouse.

9. Protect Family Relationships

By prioritizing the relationships that you and your spouse have with your children, you will put your family on a path that promotes a healthy co-parenting relationship and a healthy family dynamic after your divorce is over.

10. Encourage Stability and Routine

Help your children maintain consistency and stability in their lives by establishing and following agreed-upon schedules and routines. Predictability can help alleviate anxiety and promote a much-needed sense of security for your children during times of change.

11. Reassure Your Children

Be proactive in reassuring your children that they are loved, valued, and not to blame for your divorce.  Provide a united front with your spouse on how and when you will have these discussions with your children.


By prioritizing open communication, cooperation, and the well-being of your children, you will minimize the emotional impact of divorce for your children.  You will also lay the foundation for a healthy co-parenting relationship. 

Putting your children first in divorce is a priority that takes work and sacrifice.  If you are serious about this priority, it will help you to support your children’s happiness and resilience during and after your divorce.

Mindful Divorce, P.A.

If you, or a friend of yours, has questions about how to put your children’s best interest first in your divorce in Palm Beach County, we are here to help.

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