42% of marriages end in divorce in the UK and unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for children’s parents to separate. Find out more on shared parental responsibility and how to help your children cope with the divorce process.
How does divorce affect children?
Divorce is one of the biggest disruptions that a child may experience growing up. Divorce can have an impact on the rest of a child’s life and you will want to find the best method of explaining the process and supporting your children – no matter their age.
When it comes to defining exactly how divorce will affect a child, it’s difficult to predict the outcome.
No matter how your child handles the divorce, it’s essential that you constantly reassure them that you’re there for them.
Shared parental responsibility
Once you’ve begun divorce proceedings and spoken with your children about what’s about to happen, you will be required to make a child custody agreement. This includes details on where your child will be living and how much time each parent will spend with them.
Many parents opt for shared parental responsibility. This is assumed to be the best choice for children who have a good relationship with their parents, but some parents ask for sole custody if they believe this in the best interest of the child.
Tips for balancing time spent with both parents
Do fun activities
If you think that your children are struggling to cope with your divorce, its important to demonstrate to your children that both their parents are still friends after a divorce
Planning fun activities with both parents together is a good way to show you are amicable. This will make children feel happier about your divorce and family life
Stick to a routine
Routine is important for children, so try to mitigate any disruption to it, whilst you and your partner are divorcing
Create a timetable of when you plan to spend time with your children, eg if your children are at school, you and you partner could pick which days each of you will pick them up.
Plan around other commitments
Having experienced a divorce myself, I understand that it can be extremely hectic. From attending meetings with my ex-spouse to finding a way to still spend time with my children, I found that the best way to balance our time with them was to plan around any other commitments we had.
Following on from the importance of sticking to a routine, I factored-in days where I knew I wouldn’t be able to look after my children on my own.
Sticking to a routine and planning ahead will help your children have a sense of normality after their parent’s divorce. By ensuring that they’re spending time with both parents, they won’t miss out on key experiences as they grow older.