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Does Your Child Leave Behind Belongings at Their Other Parent’s House?

Ever have a moment when your child returns home after spending time with their other parent? You look at your child, and maybe they left something behind, or their clothes aren’t quite as nice as the ones they left in? Your child might be sent home and assured it’s a bit too small. Maybe the toy they left your house with didn’t come back home with them.

How do you respond with anger and agitation? Or do you say something to your child about it? Do you demand to know where the articles of clothing are? Do you immediately turn to your ex and ask him or her about it in front of your child?

Who Owns The Rights To A Child’s Belongings In a Divorce?

It’s common for divorce lawyers to hear from clients because they are unhappy that clothing and other things leave the house and don’t come back. They will call up their lawyer and want it fixed. Here’s the thing, the items belong to the child.

Don’t Cause Your Child to Feel Guilty About Their Belongings.

You can potentially transfer stress and anxiety to your child when you hyper-focus on belongings coming and going. This transfer happens because they start to pick up on your feelings about the subject. They might even begin to get nervous if they do leave something behind. They could begin to asking permission to bring something to the other parent’s house as if doing so is wrong.

Re-evaluate How You Think About Your Child’s Property

A word of advice that can help is reframing the way you think about the child’s belongings. It’s not really about your ex-partner. If your child leaves a pair of new sneakers behind, your ex will not be wearing them the next time you see him or her. In the end, it doesn’t matter who bought what. Your child’s clothing and possessions are theirs.

Your Child Can Still Use the Items At Their Other Parent’s House

The parent who purchased the item did so for the child’s benefit. Does your child still get to wear it if the new sweatshirt ends up at your ex’s house? Does it matter if your child wants to bring their new birthday present to the other home so they can continue to enjoy it? When parents focus on those things, what they are saying is, “I bought that item, and I don’t want my ex to get the benefit of it.” See how this is an “I-centered” statement rather than a “child-centered” one?

Co-Parenting Effectively After A Divorce

I once worked with a couple who figured out how to co-parent effectively. The parents remained focused on the child regardless of their personal feelings. They even allowed their family dog to come and go with their child. They did it because their child asked if this could happen, and your immediate reactions to this might be a smirk or laugh, but think about it. This small change helped the child adjust to a new redefined family.

How to Help Your Child Manage Emotionally After A Divorce

I’m not saying you need to share Fido. I am saying that you need to be mindful. Why do you want your child to come back with the same things they left with? In the case of the couple I mentioned earlier, the dog was a security blanket for this child. The parents were mindful enough to recognize that this had nothing to do with either of them. Regardless of who paid for the vet bills, it had everything to do with helping their child.

Focus on the What Matters to Help Your Child Adjust to the Divorce

Things are things, and socks are socks. They don’t matter. What matters the
most is that your child feels secure and loved. Please do your best to help them feel supported. Kids can adjust to two homes and divorce, but it doesn’t mean it’s easy. Let’s make it easier on them and buy the extra socks if they seem to disappear.

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