4:55 PM 2nd December 2021
Family Lawyer Reinforces The Importance Of Considering The Needs Of Children During Good Divorce Week
Image: steveb / Pixabay
This week marks Resolution’s 'Good Divorce Week' and family law associate at Langleys Solicitors, Natalie Wiles
, is encouraging attention to be paid to the impact that divorce can have on children throughout a separation.
A YouGov Poll has recently confirmed that over 90,000 children have been involved in private law proceedings this year which is a 6% increase on last year and the highest figure ever recorded.
Natalie Wiles said: “There are many ways to navigate the difficult times experienced during a divorce to help achieve a smooth transition for parents and for the children involved.
“Making sure that parents look after themselves is crucial. Divorce can result in lots of changes, and this can have a huge impact on parents both emotionally and practically. Taking support from friends, family, or other professional services can ensure that those involved take adequate care of themselves. Self-care is vital and can put individuals in the best position to make important decisions for their, and their children’s, futures.
“Secondly, those who are separating should not speak negatively about a former partner in front of the children. Doing so will be distressing for the children and puts them in a situation of conflict. It also exposes them to issues that they may not understand or issues that they should not have awareness of. The children will love both parents and placing them in this situation will be upsetting and could create fear about seeing the other parent, as well as having the ability to impair effective co-parenting and affect their general confidence and wellbeing.
“Separation understandably brings up a lot of emotions and each individual may have personal views about a former partner. However, trying to separate these views from views about them as a parent, and considering things from the children’s perspective is essential.
“Keeping communications with a former partner very business-like and avoiding emotive language is crucial. Whilst there is inevitably and understandably sometimes a desire to talk about the past it is important that both parties look forward to the future and keeping communications formal will reduce any prospect of conflict.
“Finally, if possible, and age-appropriate, taking a joint approach to communication with the children about the separation is beneficial. Sitting down together and speaking to the children about the situation and what the arrangements are will help to provide them with reassurance.”
Mediation can solve issues constructively
Commenting on the need for mediation, Natalie said: “Utilising alternate dispute resolution such as mediation at an early stage can ensure that any unresolved issues are discussed constructively.
“Mediation is a really useful way of discussing matters in a constructive manner in a neutral setting. Legal Aid is still available for mediation but for those who do not qualify the government are presently running a voucher scheme to assist with these costs. A contribution of up to £500 can be claimed towards fees which is a beneficial resource for any parents that are currently separating.
“It is far better, where possible, for an agreement to be reached between parents and making positive steps with respect to communication following a separation can set the tone for the future of the relationship. There is always going to be some need to communicate between both individuals about pertinent issues relating to the children during their minority which could be many years.
“It is crucial to remember that both separating parents lives will change in the future whether it be new partners, jobs, or other life changes. However, these respective roles as parents will be a constant and setting positive foundations for the long term will be hugely beneficial for all as a separated family in the future.”
Resolution, a community of family justice professionals, have also produced a guide for separating parents that contains helpful advice for those embarking on their co-parenting journey following a divorce.