In many divorces, child support and child custody are central issues for the divorcing parents. Decisions about your children will affect your life long after divorce is over. But have you stopped yet to consider your children's perspective on divorce?
While parents often work hard to make decisions that are right for their kids, they don't always know what's on their kids' minds or what questions or concerns their kids might be too afraid to ask about divorce. Luckily, in the Information Age, help - or at least support - for your little ones may just be a click of the mouse away.
The News & Observer reported about billsarena.com, a website run by 17-year-old Bill Sears, a Georgia resident whose parents divorced when he was eight. According to the article, Sears became interested in divorce laws at an early age - especially those pertaining to children's rights and roles in the divorce process.
In addition to reading any divorce-related legal material he could find, Sears reportedly began listening to his friends' and acquaintances' divorce-related problems. Eventually, his interest in helping others prompted him to develop Bill's Arena, which touts itself as "The Internet's Best Divorce Site for Kids by a Kid."
Today, those who visit Bill's Arena can create public or private blogs, share their stories, ask Bill questions, read relevant articles and more. Basically, the site provides a forum for children of divorcing parents to interact with and get support from other kids in the same situation.
Sources indicate that Bill was tired of feeling like he was being volleyed between his parents during their divorce, and tired of hearing his parents badmouth each other. And, apparently, he thought other kids were going through the same thing.
It seems he was right. Today, Bill's Arena has 164 members and shows moderate guest activity. Kid's Turn Central, a website designed for children, has an "Issues" section with links to sites designed for children that deal with divorce. Sears's site is the second one listed.
Bill's Arena provides children with a venue to vent, ask questions, record their thoughts, share their stories and read about interesting divorce information.
Bill noted in the News & Observer article that he doesn't offer kids who email him advice (at 17, he's clearly not a divorce lawyer), and makes reference to his age - and therefore lack of formal expertise - on the site's homepage. But the site remains active, suggesting that children don't always need professional help to deal with the struggles of divorce.
Bill's Arena offers, above all, the comfort of knowing that kids around the country are experiencing the struggles of divorce. And, for some kids, that seems to be enough.