Protecting Your Children in a Divorce Case


Last year we heard of a particularly messy divorce case in which the judge referred to a 'war', between parents. The father admitted some of the "most damagingly, abusive" behaviour he had ever encountered.

Divorce can have a negative impact on a child's life if not handled correctly
So how do you protect your children from the fallout of a divorce? The answer is quite simple, but can be difficult to put into practice.

Using Children As Weapons

Judge Jeremy Lea said that in the parents' determination to fight each other, they had failed to protect their children from emotional damage, and the 4 children became their parents' "weapon of choice" in his words.

They had both done several things involving their children, in order to turn the children against the other parent. For example, the father insisted his wife drive to get take away with their daughter after a drink, and then phoned the police. She was not however, over the limit.

The mother had recorded conversations between the children and their father. This led her to threaten the children with foster care.

How Can This Be Avoided?

Not every divorce case happens this way. Solicitors can, and in our opinion, should assist you to try and prevent this kind of situation from occurring. Working in a constructive and conciliatory manner may save not only time and money, but it can help to avoid emotional stress for both parents. The answer can be simple, Simpson Millar LLP's Carol Chrisfield explains:

"Sadly children do sometimes get caught up in the middle in a separation, but we can help steer parents in the right direction. This may include a referral to mediation, to help resolve matters amicably, and by recognising during any negotiations that parents need to continue to work together after separation, often for many years."

You can't be held responsible for your partner's actions, but you can be for your own. It is therefore important to remain focused on what is best for your children and whilst not ignoring your own needs, to ensure the children remain the priority.

If an emotionally charged issue such as adultery is behind the divorce, it can be tempting to show the bad side of your soon to be former spouse to your children. But remember, they are still the mother or father of your child, and studies show that a child benefits from a positive relationship with both parents.

There will of course be occasions where mediation is not appropriate, such as if you're a victim of domestic violence. However, this situation can be diffused by seeking legal aid, and getting yourself represented in court, so that you do not have to face your abuser in cross-examination.

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