Divorces are often stressful and upsetting events for both individuals, however, they can be even more so for children. Although you might be focused on your relationship with your partner during a divorce, it is important that you are able to prioritise and put your child first, regardless of your emotions about the separation or your partner.
1. Contact a Child Law Solicitor
The first thing that you should do to protect and make the proper arrangements for your child leading up to the divorce is to contact a Child Law solicitor. These professionals can help you to determine the best possible outcome for you and your child, such as living arrangements and visiting times, and ensure that any conflict over these matters can be resolved in a way that is beneficial to both parties- and your child. Children Law Solicitors such as Crisp and Co can help to resolve separation issues concerning your child without the intervention of the court, or can guide you through the court processes if issues cannot be resolved in another way.
2. Avoid Conflict
When caring for your child during the middle of a divorce, you should avoid your child seeing any conflict between you and your partner. This can have damaging emotional effects on them, such as instigating anxiety, worry, and other mental health issues, especially in children aged 7-14. You should also try to avoid conflict that will prevent you from communicating in the future, as this can damage your child’s welfare. Additionally, you should always make sure that you prioritise your child and put them before you and your partner, never using them as leverage or asking them to pass messages to the other party. Rather than argue over what your childcare arrangements will be after the divorce, you should try to develop a plan that suits both parties and your child.
3. Make Visiting Arrangements
Children who maintain strong connections with the parent whom they are unable to live with often cope much better with divorce than those who lose contact or have unstable visiting arrangements with the other parent. In order to help your child, you should make arrangements with your partner to co-parent your child, including regular visits in a routine, such as the third Saturday in a month, and make sure that you stick to these, avoiding cancelling arrangements unless it is an emergency.
4. Explain the Situation to Your Child
It is also important that you discuss the situation with your child early on in the process, explaining what has happened and how this will affect them as truthfully as you can. It is important that you and your partner discuss what to tell your child and how you are going to tell them, matching this with your child’s age and personality, and you should attempt to have both parents there for the conversation. You should acknowledge your child’s feelings and give them time to ask any questions that they want to.
5. Stick to Their Routine
However, one of the most simple things that you can do for your child is to allow them to stick to a routine, such as normal bedtimes. Throughout the divorce, you should also try to make life as normal for children as possible, such as keeping them at the same school and living in the same house.