Getting divorced or ending a civil partnership is never easy, but it can be particularly hard on children. Anne Thistlethwaite from AMD solicitors looks at some of the steps you can take to minimise the impact of your relationship’s end on your kids.
One of the most common mistakes people make is not communicating enough with their kids, or, even worse, communicating the wrong things. You need to make clear exactly what is happening and why, but without blaming your ex-partner for the divorce. Keep in mind, you’re trying to make things easier for your children, not use them to score points.
Make it clear you will both still be around and encourage your children to discuss how they feel about what’s going on. Don’t argue in front of your children, or on the phone where they might hear and never talk about the things you don’t like about your ex-partner in front of your kids. It’s also important to keep as normal a routine as possible and talk through any changes with your kids.
Taking a divorce through the courts isn’t just time-consuming and costly, it can also significantly worsen the relationship between you and your ex-partner. This can make it much harder to sort out your childcare responsibilities and your children can easily pick up on the increased tension.
Collaborative law provides a more constructive approach to divorce, offering the chance to negotiate a settlement both parties can feel ownership of, rather than one imposed by a court. The process involves both former partners sitting down, each with their own specialist collaborative lawyer, to agree how to divide both their assets and child care responsibilities.
This more harmonious approach can be much easier on your children, but also makes it more likely you will be able to maintain an effective working relationship with your ex-partner.
To protect your children from any negative fallout, working through the issues surrounding your separation is a really positive step. Family mediation gets both parties together with an impartial and independent third party – the mediator – to work out all the necessary arrangements by discussion. The mediator provides a safe space for you both to talk in a fair and balanced way.
Mediation can be a useful first step in the divorce process, allowing you and your ex to move on with a more positive attitude. It can also happen alongside meeting with your solicitors so that you can get legal advice at the same time. Either way, anything which makes your divorce less combative and keeps you talking to each other should make life easier on your children.
A Bristol-based divorce solicitor with over 25 years’ experience, Anne Thistlethwaite is also a Resolution-trained family mediator. To find out if Anne can help you achieve a more harmonious divorce for you and your children, please feel free to send her an email or call her on 0117 9621460.