Separation & Divorce

NSPCC

Separation may involve bad feelings between the parents and their families. Children can pick up on this, which may make them confused or unhappy – or even blame themselves for a break-up.

To support children during a separation and help them with their worries, you should:

  • remind them that they're loved by both parents
  • be honest when talking about it but keep in mind the child's age and understanding
  • avoid blame and don't share any negative feelings the adults have about each other
  • keep up routines such as going to school and specific meal times
  • let them know they can talk about their feelings with you – explain that it's okay to be sad, confused or angry
  • listen more than you speak – answering questions will help them to open up.

There are lots of ways to make it a bit less painful when talking to children about divorce or any other difficult subject.

In general, mothers automatically have parental responsibility for their child from birth.

Fathers usually have parental responsibility for the child if they were married to the child's mother and/or are listed on the child's birth certificate.

If both partners have parental responsibility, then both are responsible for the child's wellbeing until he or she reaches adulthood at age 18.

How courts decide on child contact

Every child and set of circumstances is different. But in every situation, the child's welfare must be put first. When deciding on contact and residence, the courts focus on a number of key factors, such as:

  • the wishes and feelings of the child
  • any harm or risk of harm
  • the child's physical, emotional and educational needs
  • the likely effect of any change in the child's circumstances
  • the child's age, sex, background and characteristics
  • the ability of each parent to meet the child's needs.

For more information & to learn about the law surrounding separation & divorce - follow this link.

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