Supporting Children Through Divorce
No matter what stage you are in your divorce proceedings or separation this information is designed to help you understand the needs of your children during separation and make the best arrangements for them.
Divorce and separation and family breakdown is an incredibly difficult time; even more so if there are children involved.
Cafcass have put together a collection of resources to help separating families co-parent together. Read here.
Children are entitled to a relationship with both their parents whether or not they live together. Research shows that it is normally in a child’s best interest if:
- Children are raised by both parents whether or not they live together as long as it is safe.
- Each parent supports their children to enjoy a positive relationship with the other parent.
- Children are clear about the arrangements for spending time with each parent. Children should not be exposed to sudden changes in arrangements unless it is unavoidable.
- Children should not be exposed to continual conflict as it can harm them.
- Parents support children to keep in touch with important people in their lives, such as wider family members and close family friends.
- New partners support the arrangements and have a good relationship with your child. They can really help to make things work without replacing the other parent.
How to interact with your children during a divorce
Do be honest with your children about what is happening and what is going to happen. Trying to hide conflict or the fact that you are separating doesn’t protect them; instead it may drive them away if they think their parents lie or aren’t to be trusted.
Do reassure your children that it is not their fault and they are loved by both their parents.
Do allow children the opportunity to talk about how they feel and be aware that their mood and behaviour may be their reaction to the situation.
Do allow time for everyone involved to adjust. Some arguments between adults may not be resolved and children may need time to get used to their parents not getting back together.
Do sort out details for contact, residence and finances calmly so that you all know what is happening. This will be less painful for the children.
Do encourage and help your children to be in contact with the other parent through face to face contact and by phone, post, email or text. This will be reassuring for them.
Do ask for help early on. Family friends and professionals can help you and your children to adapt to changes in your family.
Don’t lean on your children and expect them to be confidantes, allies or friends.
With the best will in the world, the above is very difficult and we strongly recommend you take advice early in the hope that with full information you can avoid arguing about things that really don’t matter, know your rights and move matters forward.
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