When considering the custody of children during a divorce or separation, children can often get lost in the emotion of the situation. There are a number of ways you can help make the process as painless as possible for your children.
Helping your children
- children often think the divorce is their fault; listen carefully and reassure your child - perhaps many times over - it’s not their fault
- divorcing couples have said it can be very difficult not to ask the child who they want to live with, but you should try to avoid this as it can place a lot of pressure on the child who may feel they are being asked which parent they love more
- stability is important while you and your family make the transition (routines, schools, club times etc)
If there is no question about your child’s safety and you can agree financial support, property and arrangements (such as where the child/children will live), you can fill in forms and will not need to go to court for a hearing. If you cannot agree these terms, then a judge could become involved or you could be referred to mediators.
Contact and residence
When parents are separating or divorcing and can't agree on arrangements for their children, the family courts can issue a Contact or Residence Order that will determine visiting rights and where the child will live. The cafcass website located to the left of this page may assist you with further information about contact and residence orders.
Counselling and mediation
If you are thinking of separating from or divorcing your partner, there are different ways to decide details like your children’s care and splitting property and finance. A counsellor may also help you find ways to save your marriage. It is far better if you can come to an agreement between yourselves. Further locations for Relate (link opens in a new window) can be found on their website.
Concern for children
Our children and young peoples service provides a wide range of services for children in need and their families. We help and support families in many different circumstances, for example families who are having difficulties with their children, children in trouble with the law, children with disabilities and children who need protection from abuse.
You can ask a solicitor to negotiate with your partner for you, either directly or through your partner's solicitor. Your solicitor may still suggest that you try mediation to settle a particular issue between you. The internet and your local telephone book will have a list of solicitors you could approach.
If you think you need any of these services, or if you have concerns about a child, please contact EHASH.