During the course of your life, there are moments where you may have to let your children down. There are times when you may have to tell them that you cannot take them out for ice cream or that dinner is going to be leftovers, as opposed to taking them to McDonald’s.
These things happen and can create a wedge in your relationship with your children, especially after a divorce. The thing is, you only were trying to save a little money.
A child’s concept of your finances
Children do not always have the best grasp of the current financial situation, especially after a divorce. They know that their parents are no longer together and are living in separate houses. Depending on their age and maturity level, they do not always connect the end of a marriage to the splitting of finances and thus, both households having less than they did when they were one.
You may have to explain to your children that they can no longer go to karate practice or take flute lessons, because you simply cannot afford it. As heartbreaking as it may be to go through, it is the easiest way to translate the sentiment regarding post-divorce finances into a language that they can understand.
While child support may provide some relief for the parent with primary custody, you may not necessarily be that parent. You may be paying child support, and it still may be too much for you, jeopardizing your financial future.
If that is the case, there is no shame in child support modification. There may be a stigma attached to it, but that stigma is based on the notion that parents that modify child support do not love their children and do not wish to support them.
The reality of the situation is you cannot support your children financially if your obligation is sending you into poverty. Contact your family law attorney and allow them the opportunity to modify your child support and represent your interests in court.
Your relationship with your children and how it interacts with your finances also goes through your ex-spouse and can affect your co-parenting relationship. Maintaining a civil, communicative relationship with your ex-spouse requires patience and time; two things that you may not be able to devote if you have not come to a cease-fire after the divorce was finalized.
With high tensions, you may be facing a situation, where your co-parent is attempting to turn your child against you, engaging in parental alienation and exposing your shared child and yourself to the damaging trauma it incites.
If that occurs, it can damage your relationship with your children, sending the both of you to seek a mental health professional, in order to repair their relationship. However, for some, the idea of asking for help is marred by the reality of the cost, stopping them from seeking help without realizing any of the free or low-cost resources that are available.
You should make every attempt at repairing the damage, if you are facing parental alienation syndrome. While your financial situation may not be at its best, you cannot afford to have your children suffer and have your relationship with them reach any type of breaking point.
Explaining the situation
There are ways of explaining to your children that you cannot afford certain things that they may want in ways that they can understand. It is important to treat your children with respect during these types of conversations. They will be more likely to listen and understand more fully, if you do so.
Make sure to pepper in reminders that you love them. In times of certainty in their lives, they need to know how much they mean to you and that the reason why they are being told no to do something or to get something has nothing to do with how you feel about them.
Maintaining that balance may be tricky, especially if your ex-spouse is not afraid of taking them to their favorite restaurant or buying them that toy that they have been asking for. However, it is too important for your financial future to save money and be able to provide to them the life your children deserve, rather than earning momentary brownie points.
Dan Pearce is an Online Editor for Lexicon, focusing on subjects related to the legal services of customers, Cordell & Cordell and Cordell Planning Partners. He has written countless pieces on MensDivorce.com, detailing the plight of men and fathers going through the divorce experience, as well as the issues seniors and their families experience throughout the estate planning journey on ElderCareLaw.com. Mr. Pearce has managed websites and helped create content, such as the Men’s Divorce Newsletter and the YouTube series, “Men’s Divorce Countdown.” He also has been a contributor on both the Men’s Divorce Podcast and ElderTalk with TuckerAllen.
Mr. Pearce assisted in fostering a Cordell Planning Partners practice area specific for Veterans, as they deal with the intricacies of their benefits while planning for the future. He also helped create the Cordell Planning Partners Resource Guide and the Cordell Planning Partners Guide to Alternative Residence Options, specific for seniors with questions regarding their needs and living arrangements.