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Friday, 5 October 2012

Preparing children for the end of your relationship

If you’re splitting up, you will want to ensure that you protect your children from being upset and disturbed by the changes that will happen. Find out how best to approach the subject with them and get an overview of the arrangements you need to make with your ex-partner.

Telling your children you are splitting up

Telling your children that you are getting divorced or separating can be difficult. It helps to prepare what you are going to say and think about how you will deal with their reaction. You can get advice online to help you.

Making arrangements without going to court

It’s always better if you can make arrangements for your children between you, without going to court. A good way to do this is to put together a Parenting Plan.

A Parenting Plan will help you agree on day-to-day arrangements like:

  • where your children will live (legally called ‘residence’)
  • when they’ll spend time with each of you (legally called ‘contact’)
  • who else will look after them
  • arrangements about schools and child care
  • emergency contact details
  • holidays
  • medical and dental appointments
  • who pays for new clothes, school trips and pocket money

You can download a step-by-step guide to putting together a Parenting Plan.

If you can’t agree on arrangements

The vast majority of people manage to reach an agreement between themselves. But if you really can’t agree with your ex-partner about some of the arrangements, you can use a family mediator – an independent person trained to help.

Taking arrangements for your children to court

Going to court to finalise arrangements over children can be very stressful for everyone – including the children.

The court will always put the needs of the child or children first. But bear in mind that if you can’t agree at court a judge will have the final say - not you or your ex-partner.

So you should try and resolve things without going to court if it’s at all possible.

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