Child welfare during divorce or separation

When considering the custody of children during a divorce or separation, children can often get lost in the emotion of the situation. There are several 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 examples routines, schools, club times

If there is no question about your child’s safety and you can agree financial support, property, and arrangements (such as where the child or 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 can be found on their website.