Good Divorce Week: Divorcing amicably and remaining child-focused

Nov 29, 2021

Separating from your partner can be a traumatic and life-changing event and the decision to end the relationship is often only the start of what can be a difficult and emotional journey. At Myersons we offer a holistic and tailored approach to all our clients and as part of ‘Good Divorce Week’ 2021, we wish to contribute to the national conversation of how we can find a better way to help families parent through separation.

We have set out some useful guidance on how to separate amicably and offer tips on what a good divorce may look like, whilst still embracing a child-focused approach.

Guidance for separating amicably:

  • Be understanding

It is important to understand and recognise that this life-event and the journey you are about to embark on is happening to both of you. As individuals, you are unlikely to process and deal with your separation in the same way and so being mindful and understanding of this is key.

  • Communicate openly and honestly

A relationship breakdown can quickly become protracted and legal fees costly when one or both parties are refusing to communicate with the other and/or are being disingenuous and untruthful about matters. You will limit the emotional and financial cost if you are able to set aside your differences and communicate.

  • Seeking help and support

As part of Myersons’ holistic approach, we encourage clients to seek therapeutic support rather than simply reply upon family and friends during this time. Seeking support can alleviate the feeling that you are going through this alone and can help you find a way to navigate through the process with greater resilience and improved judgement. It can also help avoid the temptation of using the legal proceedings as a means to exorcise negative emotions towards your former partner.

  • Be respectful

Relationship breakdowns are private to the two individuals concerned. Don’t berate your ex-partner in front of other family members, friends, colleagues and most importantly the children. Due to the sensitivity of separation it is also unwise to take to social media. Being respectful of one another’s privacy and feelings will prevent temperatures rising.

Guidance for being child-focused:

  • Tell your children that you are separating

If your circumstances allow, then discuss your separation together as a family using age-appropriate language. Discuss how you should deliver this news with your ex-partner beforehand and agree a time and a place to tell the children. When telling the children, make it known to them that you are both open and available to discuss this topic at a later time if they wish to do so.

  • Listen to the children and putting them first

In every family breakdown, the children’s wishes and feelings are paramount. They are also experiencing a loss, a change of routine and a change to their family dynamic. Listen to any concerns the children may have and ensure that they feel safe and loved.

  • Embrace co-parenting

In most circumstances, children benefit greatly from having a relationship with both parents. A message which all parents should convey in the early stages of separation is that they are accepting and respectful of the other’s relationship with the children and that they will continue to maintain and nurture it.

Co-parenting for separating couples will be a new experience and one which you are unlikely to get right first time. Discuss and establish between you what works and what doesn’t. Be open to discussing and exploring one another’s ideas and avoid being over critical to suggestions. Agree a method of communication, how to share information relating to the children and what the arrangements may look like (or interim arrangements if you are yet to reach an agreement). Ensure there is a plan b in place in the event of a lockdown or sudden isolation.

At Myersons we promote divorcing amicably and provide clients with the tools for a good divorce, whilst ensuring that our clients keep a child-centred and focused approach.

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