Divorce From Your Child’s Perspective. Things To Think About.
Posted by: Sue Atkins
Most parents don’t know the options that are available to divorcing couples rather than the aggressive ‘Going to Court’ option. Most solicitors in fact don’t favour taking your case to Court as it is expensive and can be very damaging to everyone in the family, particularly your children.
Mediation is a good option – and it DOESN’T mean trying to get back together.
Mediation is an effective way of resolving your dispute without the need to go to court. It involves an independent third party – a mediator – who helps both sides come to an agreement.
Mediation is a flexible process and the role of the mediator is to help both of you to reach a solution to your divorce and to arrive at an outcome that both of you are happy to accept. Mediators avoid taking sides, making judgements or giving guidance. They are simply responsible for developing effective communications and building consensus between the parties. The focus of a mediation meeting is to reach a common sense settlement agreeable to both of you.
Mediation is a voluntary process and will only take place if both parties agree. It is a confidential process where the terms of discussion are not disclosed to any party outside the mediation hearing.
It is far less confrontational and upsetting. Not always easy, but worth it for the long term wellbeing of your whole family during this time of transition and change.
If you are unable to reach agreement, you can still go to court. Details about what went on at the mediation will not be disclosed or used at a court hearing.
Both of you share the cost of mediation, which will depend on the value and complexity of your circumstances and what you can agree as amicably as possible.
I think it’s really important that you remember that divorce is a process NOT an event.
No two divorce situations are identical.
My website is not a place to vent your anger at your ex – it’s a place to get information, ideas & strategies and it’s my intention to empower you to make good decisions going forward.
There are three areas in which my Quick Win Video series in my Parenting Club will seek to guide you.
- Legal– we’ve recruited some of the top family lawyers to take you through the paperwork and process.
- Financial– guidance on what you can expect to pay and what you might expect to get.
- Emotional– the effect on the children and just as importantly YOU.
Many parents feel anxious and worried about how to tell their children about their impending divorce as it is a major life change. Here’s an exercise I do when I am working 1-2-1 with families that helps alleviate that concern as it focuses on your child’s perspective.
Place a piece of paper on the floor and write your child’s name on it (do this for each of your children), step onto it, and imagine you’re looking at the situation from the eyes of your child. Then ask yourselves the following questions as if you were actually standing in the shoes and socks of your child:
What do you see and hear around you at the moment?
How do you feel?
How could Mum and Dad make you feel better?
What could they do or say to help?
Now write seven reassurances and guarantees that you can honestly give to your child at this time.
Reassurances and guarantees
These reassurances and guarantees are things that will help your child cope with the enormous changes that are coming. Be completely honest and don’t hedge around the difficulties, and give false promises that you can’t keep as you destroy your child’s confidence and belief in you at a critical time in your relationship. Give your child information but not too much – give them details of the things in the not too distant future that you have decided. Give them specific details but don’t overwhelm them with information and make the information relevant to their age and understanding.
Divorce is a process NOT an event. Take your time to listen to your children’s needs, worries and concerns and they will feel better and be able to cope with the changes that are inevitably coming.
Call me on 01883 818329 if you’d like me to help your family through this very challenging time or join my Parenting Club for videos, articles, checklists and guides all around supporting you and your children through this difficult time.