If you have separated or are thinking about separating from your spouse or partner, one of your biggest worries is likely to be the impact this will have on your children. Supporting your children after separation and the way the separation is dealt with by parents and the information given to children can make the process easier for them.
How can I minimise the impact of the separation on the children?
It is often difficult for parents to forget how the animosity between them can impact a child, when they are going through such a difficult time. Conflict can be damaging for children. Particularly when it is between the two people they love most, their parents. Therefore, it is important you both discuss how to manage this after separation.
When you separate, you still continue to be parents to the children. Therefore, you need to be able to communicate and work together for the children and help them feel settled and secure.
You could try to speak to a Family Consultant to work with you and your former partner. To help you with the emotional and practical issues around separation and a divorce.
A Family Consultant is a relationship therapist/coach who can help separating couples by providing both practical and emotional support.
Family Consultants can also assist you work on any issues with communication to ensure you can continue to co-parent the children effectively.
Discuss what you will tell children
Once you and your partner have decided to separate, you need to discuss how and what you will tell your children.
It is important for children to hear the same messages from both parents and avoid blaming one parent. Blaming one parent for the separation can often create confusion for children and may make them feel torn and concerned about betraying a parent.
If possible, you should try to talk to your children together.
Supporting your children
It is normal for children to feel responsible when their parents separate. Therefore, it is important to ensure your children understand that your decision to divorce or separate had nothing to do with them. There is nothing they can do to change the situation.
You should reassure them that whilst the feelings you have for each other have changed, you will never stop loving them and they will always have a family. However, instead of being family in one home, they will have a family in two homes.
It is also important to tell them that it is okay to ask questions or talk to either parent if they are upset.
Arrangements for the children after separation
You will also need to agree the arrangements for the children now you are separating. I.e. where they will live and when (previously referred to as Residence and Contact).
It is always preferable to try to work together to try to agree the arrangements with the other parent.
However, if you need any assistance trying to agree the arrangements for the children, please contact our family law team to arrange an appointment and discuss your options.
Our family lawyers specialise in resolving disputes regarding the arrangements for the children and can help you in all kinds of circumstances.
At Hart Reade, all of our family law solicitors are members of Resolution. Which means we are committed to resolving matters by agreement and in a non-confrontational manner.
We can provide you with a wealth of information, advice and support to assist you during what can be a difficult time. If you wish to speak to any of the family law team, please call us on 01323 727321. Or alternatively contact us via the form below:
Please note that this article does not constitute legal advice. You should always speak to a legal professional to discuss your circumstances and consider your options.