Separating can be a difficult time for the whole family, especially if children are involved. It’s a big change and for parents and children alike, it can take some time to adjust to.
But that’s not to say that parenting your children following a separation or divorce has to be acrimonious. Here are some of our top tips as family law solicitors for separated parents, to help you and your children move forward in a positive way.
Keep communication open.
This is essential for any kind of relationship. If it’s going to work, you’ve got to communicate. Whilst conversing with your ex might not be your idea of fun, it’s important to recognise that discussions around what’s best for the children will need to happen in some way shape and form.
That’s why it’s always best to work something out that you’re both comfortable with. This could be agreeing not to communicate about anything other than the arrangements for the children, or using a contact handover book.
Always bear in mind the other parent’s point of view and try your best to stay on the same page in terms of how your co-parenting will work. It will also help to keep things consistent and organised, which your children will appreciate in a time of significant disruption.
Don’t make the children pick a side.
This might be tempting, especially if the separation is high in conflict. But trying to sway your child to your side and away from the other parent will only serve to confuse and upset them further. It’s also possible that doing so will backfire, causing them to resent you as they grow older. Try not to badmouth the other parent in front of your child, and make sure you’re giving them enough time to spend with one another.
It comes down to putting the children first. As long as it’s safe and appropriate for them, they have the right to have both parents in their life, so it’s important to not take that away from them or influence it in your favour.
Listen to what your children need
Every child is different, and every child will react to the separation in their own way. Just as it’s important to communicate openly with your ex partner, it’s equally as important to communicate and listen to your child. After all, they’re the only ones who know how they feel.
Depending on their age, listening to your children willI keep you in the loop about how your child is thinking and feeling, giving you a clearer idea of how to support them through the transition.
Be open-minded and flexible
Consistency is important, but life does throw unexpected curveballs from time to time. Sometimes, someone will need to change the contact arrangements last minute because of something that’s out of their control.
It’s important to try and be flexible in these situations. That way, conflict can stay minimal and the children will still get the time they need with each parent. Which, at the end of the day, is the most important thing.
Keep your children at the centre
Remember, as a parent, you always need to put the children first. If you put them at the centre of every decision and try to look past any issues or differences with your ex partner, you’re much more likely to get things right.
Think about what they need in terms of parenting, and how you and the other parent can work together to provide that.
Always remember to consider how your child is thinking and feeling. The Family Justice Young People’s Board (FJYPB) provides a helpful document filled with things to consider, all centered around putting your child first. You can find the document here (scroll down and download ‘top tips for separating parents)’.
Harrogate Family Law can help
We know that parenting as a separated couple is often easier said than done, especially if you’re separating from a narcissistic spouse or partner.
That’s why it’s really important to have expert legal support during your divorce. Someone that can do the talking for you if you’re struggling.
Get in touch with us today to see how we can help you with your legal journey.