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How to support children through a divorce

Divorce and separation and family breakdown is an incredibly difficult time; even more so if there are children involved.

Putting your children first – A guide for separating parents – is available to download at

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.

Kew Law offer an initial interview for the sum of £100 inclusive of VAT.  This is an opportunity to discuss what is happening and obtain initial advice, discuss your options and, in some cases, allow you to go back and have discussions with your ex regarding the benefit of initial advice.  If you are unable to move matters forward, then you can always seek further advice and assistance.  Take advice early, as having information can assist greatly with difficult discussions in those early days.  To make an initial appointment or advice on any other family matter please contact our Family Team on 01376 500049.

To learn more about the range of services we offer related to Family Law, please consult the pages below:

Children matters

Divorce Financial Settlements

Domestic Violence & Abuse

New Relationships

Relationship Breakdown

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