Going through a divorce when you have children can be a difficult and turbulent experience, so read on for some top tips to help you make the separation work.
Making a Divorce Work
Going through a divorce or separation is one of the most difficult experiences anyone is likely to face. Starting the divorce process means that you’ll be forced to contend with the emotional fallout of your relationship. You’ll also have to negotiate tricky practicalities and complicated financial arrangements along the way.
That being said, those issues will be the least of your concerns if there are any children involved in the relationship. Consulting the advice of expert child law solicitors to understand your rights as a parent is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s plenty more that can be done to help your children transition.
This post will provide parents with all the information you need to make a divorce work when you have children. It will talk about how children could be affected by the situation, and provide some tips to help your make the process as painless as possible. So, if you’re looking for some guidance, don’t hesitate to keep reading.
How are Divorcing Couples with Children Affected?
Whenever there are any children involved in a divorce, complications can understandably arise. Both parties will instinctively want what they feel is best for their children, but their opinions may be very different. See where problems can start to arise?
Throughout it all, there’s likely to be an increased chance of disputes between couples. This can make the whole divorce process much more drawn out and expensive – two things all couples will want to avoid if at all possible.
It will also be the case that one parent is going to see the time they spend with their children reduced. This will mainly be due to the fact that they’ll be moving out of the family home, which can be upsetting in itself.
How Can Children be Affected by Divorce?
A poorly managed divorce can have a range of negative effects on a child, many of which go well beyond the tangible changes to their everyday lives.
What you need to consider is that, if a divorce is not handled in the right way, children can be left feeling isolated and alone. They may also feel confused about what the future is going to have in store.
It’s not a stretch to suggest that their world is being flipped upside down. In fact, following a divorce, children could experience:
• A deep sense of loss
• Anger or resentment at one or both parents
• Feelings of guilt
• Feelings of rejection
• Behavioural problems
10 Top for Making Your Divorce Work with Children
It’s really important that you take steps to make the divorce as straightforward as possible, for the sake of yourself, your former partner and your children. Here are some top tips to make the divorce work when you have children.
- Make Sure Your Children Know They Aren’t to Blame
First things first, make sure your children know that the divorce is absolutely not their fault. While that may seem obvious to some parents, children may secretly hold feelings of guilt or regret, believing the situation is in some way down to their actions.
It’s often a good idea to speak to your children with your former partner so that you can both discuss the situation and alleviate them of any responsibility. After all, both you and your former partner will want what’s best for your children, right?
- Keep Things Civil Wherever Possible
One of the most important tips to keep in mind is to keep the separation as civil as possible from the moment the divorce papers are served, and beyond. Emotions will no doubt be running high, so collaborating with your former partner may seem difficult. That said, it’s vital that you do so for the sake of your children.
A fraught and confrontational divorce is only likely to increase the stress and worry your children are already experiencing. So, to avoid this, make sure to talk through everything in a calm and measured manner, and control your emotions to avoid any unnecessary conflict.
Keeping the situation civil will be made much easier going forward, especially with the introduction of no fault divorce in the UK, which will help to remove the ‘blame game’ from divorces.
- Be Open and Honest
Your instinct may well be to protect your children from the truth when it comes to a divorce. Of course, that’s understandable. However, it’s counter-productive and, in the long run, is only likely to lead to further questions.
Be clear, open and honest about the situation so that your children understand everything to the best of their ability. Naturally, you don’t need to explain all of the reasons behind the divorce where it’s not appropriate to do so, so keeping it simple is the best approach.
- Draw up a Clear Parenting Plan
There will be plenty of changes for both you and your former partner to contend with in your personal lives. So, it’s vital that you draw up a clear parenting plan as early as possible so that you are both able to play an active part in your children’s upbringing.
Making these sorts of arrangements at an early stage will reduce the potential for conflict and provide your child with a solid foundation that they can rely on.
- Be Prepared to Make Compromises
The sad truth of life is that, sometimes, compromises need to be made. You won’t be surprised to learn that this almost always applies to divorces. So, it’s important to take your former partner’s desires into consideration.
Consider what they have to say and be willing to come to an agreement. Keep in mind, taking this approach is only likely to increase the chances that your former partner is willing to listen to what you have to say as well. It’s a two-way street.
- Understand Your Rights
That being said, you should always make sure to fully understand your rights as a parent whenever you are drafting together any children arrangements, so you aren’t left isolated.
If necessary, you can speak to a child law solicitor, who can discuss the arrangements you have made with your former partner. This way, you can see if they are fair to you, and whether any adjustments need to be made. If anything, you can simply get peace of mind.
- Maintain Constant Contact
If you are separating from your former partner, you may have to leave the family home, which is bound to be difficult for any child to accept. Understanding exactly how a child is truly feeling, particularly when they are younger, can be tough. So, being there as a constant source of contact is essential.
Even if you aren’t able to see them as regularly as you would like, you can still keep in touch. Keep in mind, you should never feel as though you’re sneaking behind your former partner’s back. To avoid this, be sure to keep things as transparent as possible.
- Allow Your Children to Express Themselves
Divorce can feel like an intense loss for children and they’ll no doubt be suffering from grief. So, take time to help them adjust to the changing circumstances and express their emotions.
Let them know it’s okay to be feeling a certain way and that you’ll always be around to talk to. Small gestures can go a long way.
- Look After Your Physical and Mental Health
While you’ll understandably have your children’s wellbeing at the front of your mind, don’t forget about your own physical and mental health. Taking simple steps, like exercising, spending time outdoors or meditating, can be great ways of keeping your mind and body healthy during a difficult time.
- Seek Support from Others
No matter how complicated or difficult your personal situation is, know this – there will always be someone you can talk to for support. Whether you feel more comfortable speaking to a friend or family member, or a professional support network such as Divorce Support Group, help is always just around the corner.
Are You Going Through a Divorce with Children?
There we have it! Hopefully these tips and guidance can help you to make your divorce work if you have children. It’s bound to be a difficult time, but these pointers should help you to make the process as painless as possible.