Divorce and Separation – What do we tell the kids?

One of the most difficult and emotive aspects of dealing with a divorce or separation is what to tell ‘the kids’ and how best to support the children, through what will undoubtedly be a difficult time.

What we know from our experience as family lawyers, is that the collaborative process helps separating parents to help their children.

In fact, it is arguably the most important and beneficial outcome of the collaborative process that separating parents find they are able to co-parent successfully into the future and make decisions between them that impact in a positive way on their children.

In collaborative law, the agenda is set by you, and the children remain high on the agenda throughout. Matters to be discussed range from how and when to tell the children together about the separation, to agreeing the times the children will spend with each parent moving forward.

In our experience, if parents can have these meaningful conversations at an early stage, it will provide good foundations to co-parent successfully in the future. Also, the fact that agreement can be reached together, rather than the court making and imposing terms means that children see their parents are able to work together as “team Mum and Dad”.

The collaborate process itself consists of a series of ‘round the table meetings’ between the separating parties and their lawyers, who are trained in this specialist area of work. The lawyers involved work together and work with you to get the best outcome for all, including your children. They will make an early assessment as to whether the collaborative process is the right approach, as it will not always be suitable.

As a starting point, in terms of what to tell ‘the kids’, Resolution, a body that works with family lawyers, suggest the following statements are helpful:

“While the feelings we have for each other have changed, we will never stop loving you”
“We know this will be hard for you, and we are sorry”
“What has happened is not your fault – you did not cause this”
“Divorce is a grown-up problem that you cannot change”
“You will always have a family. Instead of being a family in one home, you will have a family in two homes”
“We will both continue to be a part of your life”

To learn more about the collaborative process please email Jo Scott at js@kiddspoorlaw.co.uk or call for a chat on 0191 2970011