Parenting

Aim for a united front when co-parenting through separation and divorce | News and advice for the family

Aim for a united front when co-parenting through separation and divorce |  News and advice for the family

Half of all marriages end in divorce, and many of those marriages involve children. Parenting during separation and divorce can be difficult, and children often suffer when their parents are separating.

Young children may exhibit anxiety, grief, and regression in various developmental domains, such as bedwetting, temper tantrums, or needing extra help with self-care activities, resulting in additional parental exhaustion. They might also be in a magical thinking phase, entertaining fantasies that their parents might one day live happily together again. Older children and teens may be more prone to reacting with anger and aggression, pulling away from their parents, and acting defiantly.



Dr. Elizabeth VanPelt


Parents face many challenges in the midst of a divorce. Dr. Elizabeth VanPeltlicensed clinical psychologist in Mount Pleasant, specializes in helping parents stay together through the process.

She shared some of the most common difficulties that families face when going through a divorce. Separation can lead to a loss of time together (parents with their children and children with each parent) which can cause stress for all family members. Planning poses another challenge, as well as maintaining consistency in children’s lives, especially around discipline and daily routines. Financial stress is most important for families going through a divorce, as are the challenges of co-parenting. Protecting children from the effects of divorce can be a heavy burden to bear, and trying to salvage the child’s relationship with the other parent, despite the messy feelings of the marital relationship, can be difficult to manage.

What can parents do to support their children during separation and divorce? Experienced parents and local professionals step in to share advice for families engaged in a peaceful separation.

Talk to a trusted friend or therapist. “Divorce is never comfortable and it shouldn’t be. It inflicts scars on everyone involved. All parents can hope for is to minimize the damage. Although your ex-spouse is no longer your immediate concern…your children are. You might want to yell at your ex’s flaws and shortcomings. Do it privately with a therapist or trusted friend. Your children are not your therapists. They need to know that both of their parents are good people who are there for them and love them despite not everyone living together anymore. In their minds, if mom or dad are bad people and I came from them, then I must be bad too. -Connie Dyson, Summerville



Marie Louise Ramsdale

Marie Louise Ramsdale


Keep children’s lives as normal as possible. “I encourage my clients to keep their children’s lives as normal as possible during litigation and to protect their children from adult issues. Children of different ages need different things; for example, younger children should probably have more frequent contact with each parent; teenagers can do better with a week-to-week arrangement. Of course, each case is different, so there is no “one size fits all” solution. – Marie-Louise Ramsdale, Managing Partner of Ramsdale Law Firm

Prioritize positive co-parenting. “Honestly, my ex-husband and I didn’t start out with a ‘nice’ divorce. We had been married for almost 15 years and he left suddenly. It took us about a year to navigate our new normal. We almost fell into the patterns that people consider normal, but one day we had a frank discussion about how we wanted things to turn out. We knew we had three kids together and we were never going to leaving us. It doesn’t work that way with children. Our greatest thing was that we let absolutely no one try to derail our co-parenting relationship: family, loved ones, friends, etc. Our co-parenting relationship had to be preserved because our children deserved it.When I met my current husband I explained the importance of this, and he was on board from day one – he loves my three older children and knew it was better… Our child They are now 21, 18 and 12 years old. The children were 14 years old. , 11 and 5 when we divorced. -Jennifer Justice, Summerville



daddy says goodbye

Divorce can be especially difficult for children. Adobe action


Adopt a peaceful tone. “I keep the peace. My peace set the tone. My daughter (9 years old) has never heard me speak ill of her father. – Dani Freeman, Goose Creek

Don’t shoot the other parent. “Children don’t need to hear one parent talk down the other parent; after all, a child is the product of both parents…Keep children out of future litigation/disputes. Don’t have a negative nickname on your phone for the other parent – the kids will see it when a call or text comes in! -Marie-Louise Ramsdale

Communicate openly and invite others to support you. “Be open to all communications. My ex-husband and I spoke daily until the divorce proceedings. Yes there were hurt feelings but my main focus was to make sure my two kids (now 12 and 7) at the time made it through unscathed… Also don’t push anyone who wants to be there to support you. – Tyeisha Williams Sims, Charleston

Marie-Louise Ramsdale, Managing Partner at Ramsdale Law Firm, who has supported many families through the divorce process, shared valuable information for parents who may be currently in the process of divorcing. “Parents should keep the other parent informed about important issues in children’s lives. A step-parent should not take the place of an in-form parent. I see a lot of problems arise when step-parents get involved in matters that should normally be between the parents of a child. Also, children should never be used to communicate problems between parents. And please stop fighting for children’s property! Also, just because you pay child support to your child’s other parent doesn’t mean you don’t have an obligation to support the child when they’re with you. The parent receiving child support is not obligated to provide clothing and supplies during the other parent’s time (unless a court order says otherwise). children like orthodontics or extracurricular costs to ‘reimburse’ the other parent or make them pay – this only hurts the children. If you get along, both parents must attend the child’s birthday parties, and both parents must contribute to the costs!



family relationship

Shared custody and modeling positive co-parenting are important for divorcing families. Adobe action


As daunting as the divorce process may seem, fighting for a peaceful separation is worth it in the long run for both you and your children.

As Summerville’s Connie Dyson reflected on her divorce experience, she said, “Now the kids aren’t kids anymore. They are all adults and have blessed us with grandchildren. [My husband] and I’m taking our grandkids to the zoo this week. [My ex-husband] and [his wife] live nearby. We called and we stop for a visit. We have shared responsibility for the children all these years. It is normal that we share the joy of the great. The labor of love that everyone did at the most painful time in our lives has become a balm to the wounds we thought we would never survive. The scars are not even visible now and our children can look back with pride. Their parents may not have been successful in their marriage, but they were successful nonetheless.

!function(f,b,e,v,n,t,s)
{if(f.fbq)return;n=f.fbq=function(){n.callMethod?
n.callMethod.apply(n,arguments):n.queue.push(arguments)};
if(!f._fbq)f._fbq=n;n.push=n;n.loaded=!0;n.version=’2.0′;
n.queue=[];t=b.createElement(e);t.async=!0;
t.src=v;s=b.getElementsByTagName(e)[0];
s.parentNode.insertBefore(t,s)}(window, document,’script’,
‘https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/fbevents.js’);
fbq(‘init’, ‘973418816133033’);
fbq(‘track’, ‘PageView’);

//!function(f,b,e,v,n,t,s)
//{if(f.fbq)return;n=f.fbq=function(){n.callMethod?
//n.callMethod.apply(n,arguments):n.queue.push(arguments)};
//if(!f._fbq)f._fbq=n;n.push=n;n.loaded=!0;n.version=’2.0′;
//n.queue=[];t=b.createElement(e);t.async=!0;
//t.src=v;s=b.getElementsByTagName(e)[0];
//s.parentNode.insertBefore(t,s)}(window, document,’script’,
//’https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/fbevents.js’);
//fbq(‘init’, ‘973418816133033’);
//fbq(‘track’, ‘Subscribe’, {currency: “USD”, value: XXXXXX}); //moved/already exists in