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Going through a divorce is never easy and impacts all involved. It is important to remain child-focused during a divorce so as to reduce the impact of your separation on them.

How to take a child-focused approach:

Remember your influence as a parent

To a large extent, the way in which your child deals with your separation is in your hands. The way in which you go about life will make a difference to your children’s ability to cope and ultimately; to their long-term wellbeing. With that in mind, it is important to keep your child out of this adult situation as much as possible. Depending on your child’s age, however, they may wish to discuss things with you. If this is appropriate, remember that the other parent is the child’s mother/father and negative comments about them will only be confusing and upsetting for your child.


A huge amount of emotion goes into a separation. It is important for parents who are going through a separation to be emotionally available and responsive to their children. This means letting your children know you are willing to hear about their feelings, listen to their concerns and worries for the future. If your child is not ready to speak about their thoughts, then letting them know that you will be there when they are ready will also help.


Following a separation it is important to keep to your child’s previous routine as much as possible. Therefore communicating with your on an amicable level is imperative to ensuring this. If you are unable to communicate or you do not feel it is safe for you to do so, find alternatives such as a neutral friend or family member.

Avoid Conflict

Keep children away from adult conversations and conflict. It might sound obvious, but do not row or make comments in front of them – this is easier said than done within the stresses of a divorce and will require commitment from both parents.

Separation as spouses, not as parents.

Whilst your marriage is over, your role as parents is not. Creating a ‘parenting alliance’ is crucial for your child. You do not need to be best friends, but you do need to be able to put your child’s needs first. The experience of separation is different for all involved. You may find it easy to communicate with your ex, you may on the other hand find this an impossible task. If you feel that your lack of communication is effecting your ability to parent, seek advice and support.

Support your childs relationship with both parents

Children want to keep their relationships with both Mum and Dad. They need support in order for that to happen. Effective management of emotions in front of children is key to stop children from having to feel a sense of “loyalty” to either parent. This is the opposite from asking your child to make a decision about who they wish to spend time with!

Some things your children need to hear;

Tackling the “D” word is difficult with children, of all ages. Here is an example of some things that you can say to your children:

Whilst Mum and Dads feelings have changed for each other, we will never stop loving you.

Divorce is a grown-up problem between Mum and Dad that you cannot change.

This is not your fault

Mum and Dad will always love you.

We are still a family. You will have a family at Mums house and a family at Dads house.

Keep the discussions with your children straightforward and age appropriate.


Listen to your children. One of the most helpful things you can do is listen and support your child’s feelings.

At Ramsdens, we are accredited members of Resolution and expert family law specialists. If you wish to discuss divorce please do not hesitate to contact one of our friendly family law team to arrange a free 30 minute consultation at any of our offices across West Yorkshire. Call us free on 08000 147720.

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