Relocating Following a Divorce – How This Can Affect Your Kids
March 22, 2011
If you are considering a long distance move from your former spouse after your divorce is final, you must first consider the effect a move may have on your children.
When the custodial parent moves far away from the other parent, the separation can cause child to suffer from grief and separation anxiety. They have not only lost the daily interaction with their mother and father together as a family, but now the great distance from one parent makes consistent contact even more difficult . Additionally, a long distance move will also deny your child consistent involvement with friends, neighbors, school mates, and others within their community. This kind of move is a disrupting event, and a child in this situation can become anxious and/or depressed.
Most children, however, are resilient to change, and they will eventually accept the separation and changes in parental availability. But if your child is highly sensitive, the grieving process may be more disruptive and should therefore be addressed immediately. Talk to your kids about how they feel and allow them to express their thoughts and fears. Reassure them that they can keep in close contact with the other parent, and if possible, have a trip planned shortly have the move has taken place when they can spend quality time with the parent who is being left behind. Be aware that the adjustment to the move can take between many months to several years, depending on the complexity of the situation and the amount of conflict that exists between the parents.
If a parent is uncertain about how a long distance move following a divorce may affect their child, they are advised to consider meeting with a qualified therapist, counselor or other mental health professional who is experienced in separation issues affecting children.
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