Divorce imminent - advice needed please(4 Posts)
Sadly, for a number of reasons, it seems increasingly inevitable that my husband and I are going to split up. Things are currently pretty amicable, and there are no other parties involved.
We have 2 daughters, aged 7 and 2, who are really the only reason we have stayed together for as long as we have, and I am so worried about the effect our separation will have on them.
We will continue to live close to each other and the children will likely spend alternate weekends and 1/2 weeknights with him.
I wondered if any of you that have been through this type of separation could give me some advice on how to best deal with this? How have your children coped? Is it possible to divorce without making the kids deeply distressed and unhappy?
Thanks for your time.
Have been through this (4 years ago) and now happily remarried. If you feel you will be happier apart then don't stay together for the sake of the kids. What example are you setting them? That they should stay in a marriage that is not working? If you have really exhausted the possibilities of getting your relationship back on track then IMO a vaguely amicable divorce is better for the kids. Word of warning - I thought our divorce was amicable until it came time to draw up the separation agreement and then I was shafted by my ex. So... go to a solicitor who specialises in family law and know your rights before you do anything. Don't move out of the family home. Make sure you have a source of income in an account in your own name before you do anything. We went via mediation rather than court which I think was easier on the kids. My kids are fine with spending some time at their Dad's and some at mine. Our arrangement is similar to the one you mentioned. What they are not fine with is changes in the schedule or being put to bed by anyone other than a parent. My youngest was 5 at the time and she took it hardest. Be prepared for some tears, and ready to give lots of reassurance. There was a certain amount of needing "babying" when we first moved out. eg my 8 year old suddenly wanted me to dress him in the morning and carry him through to the kitchen! It passed. There are certainly challenges to co-parenting with an ex, but my kids are certainlt not traumatised and and I suspect they would have been had I stayed... Good luck!
I haven't been through it but have supported lots of families who have and are single parents. So long as things remain amicable and you parent 'together' metaphorically so that they can't play one off against the other and you explain what is happening and why to dd1 who can be told that 'mummy and daddy are still going to be friends but we don't really want to live in the same house any more' and reassure her that it is not her fault, it should work out fine. Really sorry that things aren't working out between you though I have been divorced but it was before I had dc. x
Somanymiles is right - speak to a specialist family solicitor - and speaking as a specialist family solicitor myself I recommend that you try one who is member Resolution, the UK's leading family lawyers association http://www.resolution.org.uk/
Also consider carefully HOW you want to bring your marriage to an end - hostile and bitter, or with diginity with your kid's best interests at the heart of key decisions? A no brainer really, but taking advice from the right sort of family lawyer could heavily influence what happens now in the future.
Therefore, seeing a Collaborative Family Lawyer would be an excellent way to achieve the best possible outcome so try searching via http://www.collaborativefamilylawyers.co.uk/
A good and experienced Collaboratve Family Lawyer will also know and work with non legal experts, such family consultants, mediators and independent financial advisors. So much of what is going to happen in you life in the future is not dictated by what "the law" says should happen, but by HOW you and your husband have a constructive and non-confrontational dialogue - that's where the the really good non-legal professionals are so important.
Finally, in answer to "How have your children coped? Is it possible to divorce without making the kids deeply distressed and unhappy?" - How your kids cope is hugely affected by how you and your husband cope and deal with the situation. Studies show that it's not the fact of the parents splitting up that messes up the kids, but rather HOW the parent choose to separate. So, YES, it is very much possible to divorce without making your kids distressed and unhappy - by far the majority of the people I help achieve this. RELATE can also provide excellent advice, guidance and support to help you and your husband separate in an amicable manner. They don't just try and help people stay together http://www.relate.org.uk/
Discussing and setting up A Parenting Plan can also help your kids tremendously with coping with what's happening http://www.cafcass.gov.uk/PDF/FINAL%20web%20version%20251108.pdf
Your 7 year old might also benefit from this publication http://www.cafcass.gov.uk/PDF/Cafcass%20Younger%20MFC%20low%20res.pdf
Hope this helps.
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