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Children & Child Custody

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How to help your child through a divorce

How to help your child through a divorce

How to help with Child law advice Guildford and helping your child through a divorce. No-one goes into a marriage expecting to divorce a few years later, but it is a sad fact that in today’s society at least 1 in 3 will end up doing so. Many of these marriages will have produced children and they will also be caught up in the divorce process.

It is vitally important that you do not ignore them at this time and really listen and try to understand what they are going through. Depending on their ages they may not have a good grasp on what is happening and will be confused, even blaming themselves for Mummy and Daddy arguing and splitting up. So make sure you have age appropriate conversations with them, explaining things so they can understand and realise that, although things will change, you both love them and have their best interests at heart.

Children need boundaries; they do better when they know what is and isn’t expected of them. You don’t need to bend the rules at this time and let them behave in a way that you didn’t before, as this won’t benefit anyone in the long run and is actually more likely to cause problems too. Keep to routines where you can and be consistent in your parenting.

Take time to spend with your child at this time too. It is quite common for children to ‘act up’ if they feel they aren’t getting attention and you can help alleviate this by simply spending time with them. You can go out for a walk together or play a game, but make sure you are emotionally available to your child. If they start attention seeking behaviours it is good to acknowledge this earlier rather than later and to have a conversation with them about it. Divorce is confusing for children and sometimes these behaviours are the way they deal with unknown emotions. Don’t spend all your time berating them, deal with the issue and praise them when they do something good.

It is very important that your children have a voice through this. They need to be able to vocalise their concerns and not be judged for them. They will be sad, angry and confused with the situation and have real concerns about not just their parents, but their own futures, especially if things like a school move are on the cards. Remember they didn’t ask for this situation and may be concerned at the repercussions on them. You need to allow them to speak, even if they need to say things you don’t want to hear or deal with. If they are important to your children, they should be important to you too. We can help you with all aspects of Child law advice Guildford.

Be mindful of how you speak about each other in front of your children. They will pick up very quickly on negative vibes and this can be very confusing and hurtful to a child who still loves both of you, even if you no longer love each other. If you are speaking negatively about your partner, then try to do it away from your children. Even a passing comment to a friend at the school gates can be overheard by them and cause them confusion and upset.  Also if you and your partner need to speak and it may become heated, take the time to have the children elsewhere, or arrange childcare and take the matter away from them. Your children will be loyal to both of you and you should respect this and not involve them or let them be around acrimonious behaviours. It is important that you do not engulf your children with your own personal emotions; it may be tempting to speak to them, especially if they are older children, but they do not need the added burden of your emotions, especially if they are already struggling with their own.

We appreciate that most people will not sail through a divorce unscathed themselves. It is perfectly normal for you to have bad days and go home stressed to your child and maybe even to shout at them for no reason. But your children should be made aware that it is not them that you are cross with. Apologies need to be made quickly and if you find yourself behaving in an inappropriate way and allowing your emotions to get in the way of your parenting, then this needs addressing and dealing with early.

Do your best to ensure your children have regular contact with both parents. They need to know that it is OK to be in contact and to have a relationship with both of you. If it is too difficult, or acrimonious, to liaise together regarding the children, then a third party should be arranged as a matter of priority so the children can continue a meaningful relationship with both parents. Obviously if there are safeguarding issues involved then this will need to be handled differently. Every family’s circumstances will obviously be different, but communication is key and you need to put your children’s best interests at the heart of every decision you make.  We can help with all aspects of Child law advice Guildford.

Contact our Child Law Solicitors Guildford and Cobham, Surrey and London

Based in Guildford and Cobham, Surrey and Central  London. If you have a child law or family dispute that needs resolving, we are here to help and look forward to your call. Please contact us on  01483 826 470.

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