If you are separating and you have children you may want to keep these 10 points in mind.
- Do not criticise the other parent and do not involve children in the argument.
- Bear in mind the needs of the other parent.
- Allowing the child to contact the other parent e.g. by telephone when they are not with them and being able to talk openly when they miss the other parent.
- Before during and after the separation keep in mind that the child may feel confused and have contradictory feelings.
- Take on board what the child is thinking and listen to what the child wants to discuss but do not hold the child out to make the decision.
- Acknowledge that the children have their own friends and activities that need to be considered when arranging contact.
- Remember that each parent may have different parenting styles and the different styles of parenting can complement each other if not dismissed by the other parent.
- If a regular pattern for contact is agreed stick to this so that the child does not feel upset for a contact being cancelled.
- As the child gets older remember to be adaptable to their needs which may change.
- Let the children know that even though you have decided to separate both parents and everyone involved still loves the children and that living in 2 separate households can work.
Austin Chessell is an accredited Family and Child Mediator at FAMIA (www.famia.co.uk) across Inner and Greater London. Austin is also a Professional Practice Consultant.
Austin is a Collaborative Family Solicitor at Feltons Solicitors in Knightsbridge.