Divorce and Separation

If your family is experiencing a separation or divorce, the resources and professionals below may be able to assist you and your family.

Parent and child holding a red heartThe Challenge of Family Change

A high percentage of students in Spencerport have experienced parental separation, divorce and often remarriage. This family change is a challenge for every member. It is difficult for parents who are often going through loss, upheaval, disappointment, and lingering anger. For children who love both their parents and often feel caught in the middle, it can be even more daunting to understand and cope with these challenges. Not only do they experience the breakup of their parents, but they may also have to move, change schools, adapt to complicated schedules due to visitation as well as accommodate different and at times conflicting household rules. Eventually, parents may start new relationships, which can awaken sadness and anger for kids who still hope that their parents will re-unite. Adjusting to step-parents and step-siblings is a whole new challenge, one that takes extraordinary patience among everyone involved. 

Many parents do an excellent job navigating these difficult waters, and from them have learned that certain basic rules work best for their children:

1.  Talk directly to each other (parents who work out a way to communicate regularly about children, school, health, schedules do better; this can be face to face, by email, text messaging, etc.)
2.  Avoid talking to children about the other parent;
3.  Do not discuss adult matters with children (personal relationships, financial issues, child support, court matters);
4.  Do not put children in the middle (asking them to take sides; trying to get information from them; sending messages to the other parent through the child rather than talking directly to the other parent)
5.  Try to share similar household rules, including discipline and chores.
6.  Be available to your children (even when they may not seem to want you around!)
7.  Listen to your children and take what they have to say seriously.
8.  For at least the first 18 months, put your kids needs first (often hard to do, but they need the stability of adults who are concerned about them first; 18 months also happens to be the period for normal grieving).

When parents make these concerns a priority, children adjust better emotionally and in school. 

Community Resources:

The Mediation Center 

Center for Narrative Practice
240 East Ridge Road
Rochester, New York 14621

Bill and Donna Baxter: Family Counseling and Mediation
12 Amity Street
Spencerport, New York 14559

Family Enrichment Center
8 Loyalist Avenue
Rochester, New York 14624

Step Family Association of Rochester

Related Files:

Resource Book List for Divorce.pdf

Related Links:

Resources for parents on how to support your child through divorce
Purdue University Provider/Parent Partnership has several resources and ideas on how to support your child during and after a divorce.

Helping Children Cope with Divorce Article

I Am A Child of Divorce

NY State Parents Handbook for Separation and Divorce

The Family Support Center does not endorse any organizations or individuals outside of the Spencerport Central School District. These resources are for informational purposes and should be pursued based on the consumer's own criteria.