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Divorce and children

Helping children through divorce

Divorce is tough on everybody involved but, as is often said, it is always hardest on the kids. A big change is likely to be scary for children at the best of times, and when that change is the splitting up of their family unit it comes with all kinds of extra worries and a lot of added confusion. Even in the midst of their own pain, making things easier for their children is a priority for almost every parent. Unfortunately, the best way to achieve this can often be less than clear.

It’s never going to be an easy task and nothing will stop divorce from being difficult, but there are a number of things you can do to help children get through the process relatively smoothly.

Prepare Them Properly

Like a lot of big tasks, helping ease the process of divorce for your children starts with proper preparation. There are two kinds of preparation involved. One is simply making sure that you are prepared (as far as you can be) for the conversations you have with your children, and that you talk through what their feelings and concerns are early on so you can be ready to support them appropriately.

The second is trying to try to help your children be prepared for the things they will face. Talk to them ahead of time about big changes and give them time to grow accustomed to the idea and prepare themselves emotionally before these things happen. There will likely be some information – probably a lot – they need to be shielded from, but as far as possible keep them informed and tell them things in good time.

Ease Them Into It

Things will get really overwhelming for your children if all the big changes happen at once, or in quick succession. Try to plan the separation process in stages. In line with the above advice on proper preparation, give them warning ahead of time about big changes like one parent moving out. Then, make sure they have time to adapt and adjust to their new situation before exposing them to further changes, like introducing them to your new love interest.

It can also help to ease them into changes of situation if you help your children to get a grasp of what things will be like in the lead-up to the next big event taking place. For example, suppose you are moving out of the family home.

Once you have told them this is going to happen but before you have actually left, you could tell them where you will be living and take them to see the place or its surrounding area. This will give them some solid idea of what things will be like, rather than leaving it as a much scarier mystery, and help them come to terms with the idea that you really do have a new home elsewhere and, perhaps more importantly, that it is an ordinary place that they have already started to visit rather than somewhere you have left them behind in order to move to.

If you would like to talk to a solicitor about separating from your partner, or to get advice on divorce you can call 0114 3493208, or Ask a lawyer to call you back.

Kerry Smith

Head of Family Law at K J Smith Solicitors
K J Smith Solicitors are specialists in family law, experienced in all matters relating to divorce, civil partnerships, cohabitation disputes and collaborative law.

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