High levels of stress are very common for parents undergoing a child custody battle.
Separating parents may worry about how to adjust, make ends meet, split time with the child or children, pay for an attorney, and whether the outcome will be fair or not.
Stress can, over time, cause other more physical ailments if left unchecked. Dealing with issues of child custody and stress is not an easy thing.
However, there are ways to help you cope and adjust to the situation so you can manage.
What Are the Stressors in A Child Custody Case?
There are so many stressors to deal with when facing child custody. These are known and unknown factors that make one feel more worried and can cause short-term or chronic stress if not well managed. The worst stressors are the unknown factors where a parent worries about things that are beyond his or her control. That may include:
- Whether the custody decision will be fair or not.
- How the kids will deal with the outcome.
- How to fend for the kids with less income and whether you will find a job or not.
Of course, the known factors may cause short-term stress that can be easily managed. The stress levels may escalate if the parents of the child are engaged in a high-conflict battle, where each wants to have sole custody and nothing less.
This can be financially and emotionally draining and makes things worse when one parent is economically disadvantaged.
How to Deal with Child Custody Stress
Dealing with stress is the only way to cope with the child custody battle and staying positive throughout the battle. It’s easier to get emotionally broken during the process thinking about how the case is likely to turn out, how your child is going to adapt, or even how to start your life over again.
When in that situation, the following are the few tips to help you deal with stress when facing child custody:
Get Emotional Support
If things seem to be getting out of hand, you may need to get a therapist to help you deal with your emotions and stress. This can come from a trusted friend, family member, or mental health professional.
Don’t Focus on Revenge
The more you try to exact pain on the other parent, the more you are likely to hurt your case. Revenge is not the solution when it comes to a child custody battle.
It may indeed be an emotional response where you feel justified to teach someone a lesson, or “get back” at them, but this feeling is short lived, and soon replaced with the consequences of your actions.
Instead, think about what is in the best interests of the child and that will give you a reason to compromise where necessary for the sake of getting the best for the child.
Thinking about revenge might cause a lot of stress on the child and may also work against you in a child custody battle.
Negotiate with Your Ex-Spouse
Before things escalate and get out of control, try as much as possible to communicate with the other parent and where possible how to solve your issues about child custody.
You may be emotionally charged or stressed but when you find that your ex is willing to negotiate, things can change and that may reduce the level of stress.
If the other parent is willing to communicate, you may negotiate and have your child custody issues settled outside the court. This will also reduce the stress on the child and decisions can be reached amicably without animosity or hostility towards each other.
You may also try mediation if you can agree with your ex and that will work better than the court process and hence reduce stress.
Prepare for Your Case
This is probably the most important thing you can do! When you are prepared and organized to handle your case, the stress can be lower than when you have not prepared for anything. Preparing means the following:
- Keeping relevant and detailed records of the events and necessary documents.
- Getting a good attorney to represent you in your case.
- Getting the necessary resources to fund your case.
When you have a good lawyer, facts and documents to support your case, and money to spend, you are less likely to become stressed than when you are not prepared and the case has already been filed by the other parent.
When you stay positive, regardless of the nature of your case, and how stressful it might be, you are likely to do the right things and make the right choices. You are likely to think more of what is in the best interests of the child than how to punish your ex-spouse.
Therefore, avoid thinking about your past and focus on the present and the future of the child.
Apply Other Stress Management Principles
There are other general ways of combating stress and that can also be helpful when you are facing a child custody battle with your ex. These may include getting enough sleep, eating good quality food, mediation, and even meeting with your old friends. These best practices can help keep your mind occupied with other things that are positive hence keeping stress away.
Getting Enough Sleep
Good sleep is vital during this period since lack of proper rest makes it difficult to think clearly thus increasing chances of making mistakes regarding the child custody case. Here, getting at least six hours of quality sleep every night will help parents make good decisions without becoming too tired.
Even just for a few minutes every day will help to relax and regain your composure so as to make rational decisions regarding child custody. Meditation is also beneficial in refraining from making irrational choices that may have adverse effects on your parenting skills, especially if you are the primary custodian.
Taking Time Off Work
Having someone come over to take care of your kids while you go out alone for some quiet time in a place where you can be by yourself and think through things calmly helps deal with stress concerning child custody issues.
This also enables you to accomplish tasks during the day that may be piling up and need attention before the next court date.
Taking Care of Yourself
It is important for parents to make rational decisions regarding child custody cases. To do this, they need to be in a positive state of mind.
So many stories and examples come to mind when we speak of helping or saving others. If we can’t help ourselves, we can’t help others. This is important to remember when starting to neglect your health and yourself.
Bad habits and bad relationships should be first to go if you want to save yourself so that your children can benefit from a healthy relationship with their parents.
Adding Some Hobbies
Activities such as playing a musical instrument, taking part in sports or joining workshops will help parents spend their time usefully instead of worrying about child custody disputes.
This way, they can enjoy a new skill and possibly teach it to the children some day. It also gives parents free time to meet new people with similar interests.
Stress can cause more harm than just a headache. It is important to assess your mental health and to know your status so that you can deal with any situation that might be bothering you or causing stress.
In addition to that, a child custody battle is not a death sentence and regardless of how much emotions or stress you harbor, it will not help in dealing with your case but rather, it can even hurt the process.