A divorce or separation is a difficult process to go through at the best of times, but it is made even more so when children are involved. In some cases, custody battles can erupt that cause even more damage to the previously established family unit. This will often leave the child feeling confused and upset about what is going on around them, which is why both parents need to make an effort to explain the situation to their child and help them to cope with the inevitable trauma that results from the breakdown of the family unit.
In short, parents must put their child’s welfare first regardless of how bitter the legal dispute between them. Consider all of the following actions to take during the divorce proceedings.
You must discuss the ramifications of the divorce with your child, while also keeping them sheltered from the more bitter aspects of the legal proceedings in cases where the divorce is not amicable. Important subjects to discuss include where your child will live following the split, how their day-to-day life may change and any effects that the divorce will have on their school life and how often they see their friends.
Ideally you will want to maintain as much of the previously established routine and structure as you can for your child. Unfortunately, in cases where custody may be an issue, explaining what will happen after the divorce can be more difficult. In these cases, you need to tell the child that they will be the first to know as soon as you do.
A divorce can leave your child feeling powerless and frightened, especially if you offer them no say in regards to what happens to them after the divorce. This may result in emotional distress and growing resentment on the part of the child that will cause psychological damage in the long term.
As such, you need to make the effort to involve your child in every decision that you make. Both parents need to be able to put their differences aside so that they can involve their child in this process and make sure that they understand that their needs are being considered at every step in the process.
Many couples take the approach that sheltering their child entirely from the concept of divorce is the best way to go. While it is true that you should keep your personal disputes with your partner private, the fact is that your child’s life is going to change following the divorce so you need to be as honest as you can with them.
Talk to your child about the divorce and explain the reasons for it in language that they can understand. Make it clear that the split is not the result of anything your child has done and make sure that both parents approach the subject with the same viewpoint, so as not to provide conflicting information that can cause further distress.
If you have an issue related to divorce, child custody or family law, please contact Harding Mitchell Solicitors today on 0203 191 8080 to arrange a consultation. They will be able to help you with your case and provide information about how best to broach the subject of divorce with your children.