Consider the kids…..how do you think your separation will impact on them. Depending on their age, they may react in different ways. Many children blame themselves for their parents’ separation. They must be constantly reminded that this is not the case, that it is a matter between their parents who will continue to love them, and keep them safe, and that they will always spend time with both parents. Some children may be going through difficult periods themselves such as starting school or high school, adolescence, facing important exams, worrying about future job prospects.
If parents choose to break any of the countless expert recommendations on how to behave and treat children after a separation, they will only have themselves to blame for any long term effects on their children. These can include acting out behaviour, sadness and depression, all of which will affect their children adversely. In some cases children have been known to self-harm, and even suicide because of their inability to cope with parents who have a destructive divorce.
It is vital that children can see that their parents are at least friendly and civil to one another, that they do not denigrate each other, that they can be flexible with the time they spend with each parent, and are permitted to attend special functions like friends’ birthday parties, sports practice and games, after school activities and family get togethers. Children should never be within hearing of any disputed discussions or telephone calls, or involved in conversations with their parents about their property settlement.
I have known of many cases where children withdraw and have difficulty communicating with their parents. They are cross-examined each time they return from the other parent’s home as to what happened while they were there. Children learn at an early stage to only tell their parents what they want to hear, what will make them pleased, happy or proud, so they will rarely discuss the happy times they spend with the other parent. In time they won’t discuss anything about their activities at either home, and communication between parent and child will break down.
Anger and resentment between parents will damage children who have no control over their situation. Parents should be role models and show by example, not enter into a destructive divorce and continuously bicker and fight. The result on your kids will be disastrous.
We always encourage parents to make children their priority after they separate. It is difficult considering the emotional time parents are going through, however we can refer you to divorce coaches, counsellors, psychologists, mediators, accountants, financial advisers etc who can provide information and advice to assist you to discuss a settlement and come to an agreement – then you can visit your lawyer to draw up the relevant documents.
Always put the kids first – and you won’t have many regrets.
Lyn Lucas is the owner of Online Divorce Lawyer. With over 25 years experience in family law Lyn empathises with couples going through a separation and a property settlement. Her focus with Online Divorce Lawyer is to reduce the pain and deliver excellent results in the process of a property settlement. With a negotiated fixed fee for this service, couples have certainty as to their legal costs. Visit Lyn’s site and opt in for a complimentary e-book “Guide to Saving Money with a Divorce Property Settlement”