The Law Offices of James A. Cuddy, LLC

Graduation may mark the end of child custody stress

As graduation season approaches, many Connecticut families have a child who is preparing for this momentous occasion. This can be a hectic time, as students work to attain solid grades during their last few weeks of school and juggle the pressures of determining their next step in life. For those who have gone through their parents' divorce and child custody struggles, stress surrounding graduation day itself may also come into play, especially if the two sides of the family do not get along well. Understanding these factors and working to create a positive graduation experience is one of the most heartfelt gifts that parents can give to a child.

Kids who have lived with a high level of contention between parents are accustomed to feeling stuck in the middle. They often feel as if they have to choose sides when it comes to important events such as holidays or birthdays. When divorced parents must be in the same space, the tension level is increased, and the child may feel like he or she is forced to act as a referee between the two people that he or she loves the most. This is a difficult position, and parents should work to ensure that the same dynamic does not occur during graduation celebrations.

The best way to address the issue is for both parents to work together to reach a solution. In some cases, parents can simply agree to set aside their differences and focus on the achievements of their shared child during graduation. In other cases, this level of cooperation is simply not attainable, for whatever reason. The next best approach is to work to establish a schedule that allows both sides of the family to spend time with the graduate, lessening the volume of interaction between parents.

Connecticut parents who have gone through divorce must work to keep tension and strife outside of this important life event and allow the focus to remain on the graduate. By taking the time to structure a plan for the event and the celebrations that will follow, and sharing that plan with their child, parents can eliminate a great deal of the stress that a child feels when Mom and Dad have to share space or address child custody issues. This can be the best possible graduation gift for all involved.

Source: Walnut Creek Patch, "Your Divorce Is Not Part Of Your Teen's Graduation", Susan C. Schena, April 24, 2015

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