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  • John C. Whitbeck, Jr.


    John C. Whitbeck, Jr. practices in the following areas of law: Family Law, Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Visitation Rights, Adoptions, Spousal Support, Mediation, Arbitration, Relocation Cases, Domestic Violence, Criminal Law, DUI/DWI, Reckless Driving, All Felonies, All Misdemeanors, Juvenile Crimes, Mental Health Law, Civil and Business Litigation, Construction Litigation, Education Law, Election Law, Debt Collection, Consumer and Lemon Law.

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  • Ruth M. McElroy


    Ruth M. McElroy practices in the following areas of law: Family law, Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Visitation Rights, Adoptions, Spousal Support, Relocation Cases, Pre and Post Marital Agreements, Domestic Violence, Reckless Driving, DUI/DWI, Juvenile Crimes, Felony and Misdemeanor Crimes, Traffic Offenses, Debt Collection, Civil and Business Litigation. She serves the Virginia Court system as a Guardian ad litem.

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  • Jennifer D. Cisneros


    Jennifer D. Cisneros practices in the following areas of law: Family law, Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Visitation Rights, Adoptions, Spousal Support, Relocation Cases, Domestic Violence, Juvenile Crimes, Reckless Driving, DUI/DWI, Estate Planning, Wills and Probate, Trusts, Civil and Business Litigation and Debt Collection.

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How to Help Your Children During a Divorce


A divorce is always a rough time for parents and children. While you adjust to the end of your marriage and becoming a single parent either all or a part of the time, your children have to get used to a new normal. They have to find their balance again in a world in which mom and dad are not together and may not even get along. This can be much harder on your kids than you realize, since children may internalize their feelings or not be able to express their thoughts and emotions. It is up to you to keep a close eye on your children during the divorce and help them grieve for what has ended and prepare for what is ahead.

How to Help Your Children During a Divorce 

Be prepared for all types of reactions: Once you are ready to tell your children that you and their other parent are divorcing, you should immediately prepare for how they may react now and down the road. Some children will have questions or be emotive right away. Others will need time to think and recover from the surprise. Be prepared for any type of outcome and understand the different ways you may need to react to help your kids.

Practice your answers to common questions: Talk with your spouse about how you will answer questions. Your kids are going to wonder why you are divorcing and how it will affect their lives. Be prepared for personal questions regarding your relationship with your spouse as well as questions about small details, such as whether they will have to buy two of everything or where the family pet will live. While you may be looking at the bigger picture right now, your children are worried about the little things that matter most to their everyday lives.

Look out for personality changes: No matter how it seems a child is reacting to a divorce, more may be going on inside. Toddlers may become more irritable or clingy, particularly with the parent who moves out of the family home. Elementary-aged children may begin to act out in school. Once rule-abiding kids may talk back to the teacher or start to bully others. Teenagers can have a wide range of reactions, including depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. These can lead adolescents to do poorly in school, hang out with the wrong crowd, and get into drugs and alcohol.

Do not be afraid to ask for help for your kids: If you notice personality changes in your children, no matter their age, address it immediately. This may require working with your other spouse, your children’s school, and mental health professionals to ensure you child comes to term with the divorce in a healthy way. Treating an adolescent’s depression and anxiety is particularly crucial, as these can lead to more serious health and social issues if left alone.

Reassure your children it is not their fault: Children often feel that their parent’s divorce is somehow their fault. They may also feel as if one or both parents do not love them anymore, particularly if one parent moves away from the family. It is up to you and your spouse to constantly reassure your children that they are not to blame for the divorce and that you both love them.

Contact Our Leesburg Divorce Lawyers for Help

One of the ways you can help your children during a divorce is to cooperate with your spouse and not create a contentious legal battle. At Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy PC in Leesburg, we can help you achieve this. We are here to represent you and guide you through the legal process of divorce. We can help you and your spouse work together to end your marriage in a way that is best for you and your kids.



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Governor Northam’s Executive Order 53 provides that businesses that offer professional rather than retail services may remain open. Our firm is continuing to operate to ensure you and your family have advocates available for whatever legal issue you face. For clients who prefer, we can arrange meeting by Zoom or other video-conferencing. We are also implementing internal procedures to provide a safe environment in the office. Please contact us at 703-777-1795 or schedule an appointment today!