If you have children and are unhappy in your relationship with your partner, you need to consider the well-being of your whole family when it comes to considering separation. If marriage is making you miserable, your children will inevitably be affected, no matter how much you try to hide things from them. Happy parents mean happy children, and studies have shown that the majority of children would rather their parents separate than stay together for their sake if they no longer want to be together.
However, when there are children involved, your approach to separation needs to put them front and centre. This is no time to be squabbling about who gets the coffee table. Separating with children means cooperation, collaboration, and avoiding animosity as much as possible.
Cooperative separation techniques such as mediation and collaborative family law have been shown to provide better outcomes for divorcing parents and are better for children’s cognitive development than taking your case to court.
When talking about divorce with your ex, keep your children’s well-being at the centre of every decision, and do your best to work cooperatively rather than at odds with one another. Here are a few ways to take a collaborative approach to separation:
- Focus on open and ongoing communication with your ex – after all, you don’t stop being a parent just because you’re no longer a couple.
- Help your children to understand what’s going on and work through the challenges of separation together to minimise the impact on your kids.
- Prioritise making practical and realistic arrangements for your children – from living arrangements to holidays to paying for new shoes.
- If you don’t wish to apply for child maintenance through the Child Support Agency or in court, you may want to try arranging a private maintenance agreement.
- Begin drawing up a co-parenting plan for the future, and be prepared to be flexible, compromise, and alter your arrangements as your children’s needs change.
- Use the support and resources of organisations like Resolution, which has a useful resource for separating parents called The Parenting Charter.
In all cases, get in touch with a solicitor as early as possible to discuss your options. Find support and expert advice from the family law team at Frances Lindsay & Co. We offer tailored legal services to suit your circumstances, and our collaborative family law solicitors are experienced in helping parents deal with children’s issues during separation.
As a separating parent, you don’t have the option to simply walk away from your family and your situation. Work together with your ex and take responsibility for building a positive future for your children.children's issues, collaborative family law, divorce, divorce and children, mediation, separation