Solicitors in Ipswich – How to protect your children during a divorce or separation
Once you have made the decision to divorce or separate, aside from choosing the right firm of solicitors in Ipswich, one of the things that will be at the forefront of your mind is how to protect your children – as they are the ones who are the most vulnerable during divorce proceedings. If you and your partner have made the decision to live separate lives, your offspring may be going through a host of emotions including hurt, fear, sadness, confusion and anger; and the sad fact is that many children blame themselves for their parents’ break-up.
If you have chosen to divorce or separate, as a parent you will naturally be worried about the emotional effect it will have on your children. However, there are certain steps you can take to minimise this. Whether you are looking to find a solution within your own family, or you want to seek outside help, this article looks at ways you can help safeguard your child during this challenging transition.
Barker Gotelee is a well-established firm of solicitors in Ipswich with an experienced family law department and mediation department. Our solicitors and mediators act with you to find a solution that works in the interests of you and your children as a priority.
Ten steps to take to help protect your children following a marriage break-up
Talk to your children
Just as you will have your own issues to deal with during the marriage breakup, so will your children.
When you break the news to your children about your separation, try to talk to them together (with both parents) if possible. Let them ask questions and answer them as gently as you can, without apportioning the blame on the other parent. When the discussion ends, leave it open to your children to discuss their thoughts and feelings with you; listen to them, and reassure your child/children that it is not their fault.
Distance your children from any conflicts
One thing that you should try to avoid when your marriage breaks down is getting your children involved in any conflicts between you and your spouse. It is important not to drag them into any arguments, or worse, to ask them to negotiate on your behalf.
Remember that your child loves both parents equally and wants to maintain their relationships with both of you. Putting your children into a position where they are forced to take sides can be very damaging for them.
Communicate with each other
If you are going through a divorce, as well as communicating with your children, it is important for you as parents to communicate with each other. The more amicable your divorce is, the more this will help lessen the effect on your children and will teach them how to resolve their own crises in the future. However, it is understandable that some parents may find it very difficult to communicate at this stage of their relationship; so it may be worth making contact via email, rather than telephone or face to face, to prevent your children overhearing any arguments.
Resolve residence issues in advance
If you are able to discuss things amicably, there are various forms of compromises you can make. Try to think about how you can resolve issues in the best interests of the children. Go through all the options including how much time each child will spend with each parent, holidays/term time, weekends/weekdays, to find something that works for all parties.
Don’t ask children who they want to live with as they shouldn’t have to take sides, after all they are not the ones who are getting divorced.
Talk over financial arrangements
Just as it is important to talk over the child arrangements , it is also just as important to try and resolve all your financial issues amicably. This will also save money on solicitors’ fees in the long run as it avoids a long drawn out divorce. Remember if both parents are left with sufficient funds, it is not only you, but your children that will be the ones who benefit.
Keep things as normal as possible
While issues are being resolved and you are consulting with solicitors in Ipswich, try to keep things as normal as possible. This means not breaking your children’s contact with either parent, and for you to carry on with their schooling arrangements, club arrangements and your children socialising and seeing their friends and relatives as normal.
It is always best to involve both parents in your child’s life; despite what the other party may or may not have done – a parent is better than no parent, and your children need a healthy balance.
Talk to the children’s school
Explain to the school that you are getting a divorce and ask for the relevant teacher’s support. They can keep an eye on your child and give you feedback about whether the break-up is affecting your child’s schoolwork or relationship with the other children. Teachers are well versed with dealing with break-ups and most schools have some sort of counselling facilities that are available for children affected by divorce or any other issues.
If you find yourself unable to communicate with your partner, then mediation might provide the answer. If you do require mediation, Barker Gotelee has an experienced mediation department, although we do stress that it is important to book enough sessions to be able to resolve all issues amicably. Sometimes this is the only way to move things forward and pave the way for a new beginning.
Think about counselling
It could be that your child’s schoolwork may suffer during your divorce, or your children may also experience behavioural problems, and become angry with both or either parent, or lash out at their siblings. If you find that your child is deeply affected by the divorce and is having behavioural issues, there are various counselling and support groups that can help.
Join a support group
It is not only your children that may benefit from joining a support group, but you might do too.
There are various parenting classes, or support groups available which cover minimising the impact of divorce on your children and you may want to join one of these to pick up some tips. They might be able to give you advice on how best to deal with some of the emotions that your child might be going through.
About Barker Gotelee Solicitors
Founded 25 years ago, Barker Gotelee solicitors in Ipswich has a well-established family law department and will help you achieve a solution so you can look forward to your new start.