Here at John Fowlers Solicitors, we understand that family law proceedings can be daunting, complex and stressful. You may find that your child is finding these circumstances particularly difficult to deal with. Even in the most amicable separations, children can sometimes experience feelings of sadness, anger and confusion. Our team of family law experts have put together some tips on how to support your child through a separation or divorce proceedings.
Tell Your Child Together
If you’ve recently decided to separate or divorce, it’s usually best to take time to sit down and tell your children this news together. Be mindful of how you speak, how much information you disclose and the language you use when telling them about the separation. Whilst emotions may run high, try to avoid placing blame or arguing during these discussions. Tackling these conversations together can help your child to see that both parents still love them and will be there to support them despite the changing circumstances.
Upon learning about a separation or divorce, it’s common for children to have a number of concerns. They may worry about their home situation, for example, if they’ll move home or what home life may be like without the other parent. They may also feel anxious about school, friends and spending enough time with each parent. It’s likely that they’ll also worry about you, which could prevent them from voicing their concerns. So, it’s a good idea to create a safe space where they can speak freely without fear of judgement. This will give you the opportunity to comfort and reassure them as best you can.
Keep to a Routine
Where possible, it might be a good idea to try and keep to a routine. Despite the changes occurring within the family unit, it could be reassuring for a child to see that other things are staying the same. This is likely to be different for every family but it might include continuing after school activities that your child enjoys or keeping up with scheduled weekend trips to visit grandparents. Where possible, keep your child updated and let them know about any changes to a routine in advance. Having a clear understanding of what is happening may help your children feel more in control and help them to adapt.
Plan for Challenging Behaviour
If your child is struggling to cope or is experiencing challenging emotions, this may be demonstrated in their behaviour. It’s a good idea to have a clear plan on how to cope with behaviour that may be unusual for them. If you’re co-parenting, it’s important to ensure that you’re on the same page and make time to discuss how you will overcome this. Most importantly, make sure that your child knows how loved they are and try to provide them with as much reassurance as possible. It might be helpful if you let them know it’s normal to cry and to feel sad, angry or confused. Together you could come up with healthy ways to help them cope with their emotions.
You may find that family mediation serves as a safe space for the entire family to address any concerns they may have. If you and your partner have gone through mediation together, you may decide that you want a separate session with your child involved. If you and the mediator feel that this is appropriate, a specially trained mediator may arrange to have a separate session with your child or children. Your children may feel that this is a useful process as it allows them to speak freely and ask questions. However, this is not always right for every family and age and maturity level should be considered. If you’re interested in finding out more about family mediation, check out our recent blog post.
Ask for Support
Divorce proceedings and separation can be extremely tough and emotionally draining. If you and your family are struggling, it’s important to seek support for both your children and yourself. You’ll find that there are many organisations that are skilled in helping families who are experiencing similar situations.
John Fowlers Solicitors is proud to have over 90 years experience providing family law services in Colchester and across Essex. Our experienced team goes above and beyond to help families reach a positive outcome, regardless of their individual circumstances. From divorce and separation to child law proceedings, we’re experienced in providing expert advice and a wide range of legal services.
Have an enquiry? Speak to our expert team of solicitors in Essex today.