How can I look
after my children during a divorce?
One of the biggest worries
that couples who are considering or going through a divorce have is
the worry about the impact it will have on their children. Divorce
can be a stressful process for all involved, especially if you donít
agree on certain aspects. Youíll want to do all you can to minimise
the impact on your children, so these issues have to be dealt with
carefully and sensitively. Above all, you must remember to put the
In this article, weíre
going to go over some of the biggest questions about divorce and
How will my children cope with divorce?
A relationship breakdown
can have a big emotional impact on children, even if it doesnít
initially seem like theyíre affected. It can lead to feelings of
sadness, anger, bewilderment, anxiety, loneliness and more. Children
can also feel like they are the cause of the issues between their
Children can also become
confused, wondering if the separation is temporary. Younger children
may even cling on to the hope that their parents will suddenly get
back together, even after long periods of separation.
Itís important to be aware
that children may try to hide their feelings or may even tell each
parent something different, depending on what they think that parent
wants to hear. Parents can sometimes believe that itís not having
much impact on their children when, in reality, the situation is far
worse than they think.
How can I help my children through a divorce?
Always try to give your
children as much reassurance as possible and try to clearly explain
what is happening in a way that they can understand. Try to avoid
changing the family routine and encourage them to still have a
relationship with both of you. Make them aware that itís ok to talk
about their feelings with you and how they feel about the other
parent so that they donít feel like they have divided loyalties.
What you should never do
is be critical of the other parent in front of the child, or do
anything that will undermine their relationship with said parent.
Never ignore your childrenís feelings, and even ask older children
for their advice on the situation. Above all, never involve the
children in your battles with the other parent or try to use your
children against your partner.
How do I ensure my childrenís interests are put first?
The simple answer is to
remember that, regardless of what has happened between you and your
partner, you will still need to work together as parents in the
future. It does children no good to see their parents constantly
fighting. So your first responsibility will be to minimise conflict
with your partner and support each other in the future.
It may be useful to
discuss a parenting plan with your partner.
What if we donít agree about our children?
With such an emotionally
charged situation, itís unsurprising that parents may not agree with
arrangements regarding children. As mentioned earlier, ensuring that
putting children first is always on your mind, is the key to
maintaining a friendly and civil relationship with your partner.
This will allow the practicalities of childcare to be discussed
freely. Unfortunately, it doesnít always go that smoothly.
If you canít come to an
agreement over your children, mediation or collaborative law (in
which each parent hires a solicitor who will sit in with you on a
series of Ďfour-way meetingsí between you, your solicitor, your
partner and their solicitor) may be introduced. It may also help if
you attend counselling sessions or family therapy. Going to court
should always be a last resort.
Even if you already agree
with how you will handle the arrangements around children, itís
still important for parents to get expert legal advice from a
law solicitor, to help understand their position and consider all
the options available to them.