When Parents Part – Helping Your Children Through Separation and Divorce – Part 2

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Here is the second part of our article offering you practical tips on helping your children to deal with separation and divorce.

Maintain the children’s normal routines:
Make sure that bedtimes, rules about television and screen times etc remain the same and continue to be enforced. This will provide the children with a sense of security.

Make sure that the children maintain a relationship with the non-resident parent if at all possible:
Of course there will be some cases where this is not appropriate, but in the vast majority of cases it is beneficial emotionally for the children to maintain a close relationship with both parents. Your children need to know that it is alright to continue to love both parents and that this will not be viewed as disloyalty by one parent.

Do not run your ex-partner down in front of the children – they will find this upsetting. Do your best to positively promote their relationship with the other parent, even if the children may sometimes be reluctant to go. The exact arrangements for the children’s time with the non-resident parent will depend on factors such as their age, the distance between the two homes etc. Try to agree the arrangements with your ex-partner as far as possible.

Look after yourself:
Your children are much more likely to be happy and healthy if you are. It is important that you have some support during the process. Find a trusted family member or friend to talk to – preferably one who will be sensible and objective and does not bring their own “emotional baggage” to your discussions. Do not rely on your children for emotional support, whatever their age.

Consider seeking help from a relationship counsellor – they are not there just to promote reconciliation but to help you communicate more effectively with your ex-partner even after the decision has been made to end the relationship. A parenting coach may also be able to help you and there are many good books available to help children through the process – written for both parents and children.

Seek help from a solicitor at an early stage, preferably a solicitor who is a member of Resolution. Members of Resolution adhere to a Code of Practice which promotes a non-confrontational approach to solving problems in a constructive and dignified way. We encourage solutions that consider the needs of the whole family and in particular the best interests of the children. We are used to clients seeking initial advice and then taking some time to make a decision – you will not be pressurised into taking action if you need more time to consider your options.

For help on all family law matters, please contact Joanna at jtoloczko@meaby.co.uk or on 020 7703 5034.