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Child custody matters may especially impact only children

Divorce in Ohio is challenging not just for the parents calling it quits but also for their children. The negative effects of a divorce proceeding involving matters such as child custody are especially pronounced for only children. This is the case for children who have no siblings as well as kids who are separated from their siblings by at least seven years. Children who have special-needs brothers and sisters might also feel like only children, especially if they have no or limited interpersonal contact with their siblings.

Only children typically are high-achieving in extracurricular activities in school because they benefit from all of the parents' resources and focus. The benefit they experience during divorce is that they likely will not feel as lost in the chaos or ignored either during or after the marital dissolution; in fact, they often feel that they are the most important people in the lives of their parents. However, with this benefit may come some disadvantages.

Only children often feel pressure to make their parents happy and proud of them. They do not have siblings with whom they can share this burden. Thus, there is a chance that these children will feel as though their parents are fighting over their attention and that they are caught in the middle. This can make only children feel anxious and highly conflicted, particularly because they are usually more conflict averse since they have little exposure to sibling rivalry.

Two parents who are dealing with child custody matters during a divorce may benefit from getting together to develop a parenting plan that works for the entire family. This may help reduce the child's anxiety as well as both parents' stress levels following a divorce. Both parties have the right to pursue their wishes while focusing on the best interests of their only child during a divorce proceeding in Ohio.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Parenting Only Children After Divorce", Samantha Rodman, Aug. 25, 2015

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