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How you can help your children through Divorce and Separation

A recent survey by Seddons, a U.K. law practice, revealed that divorced couple’s biggest regret is the impact that it had on their children, although nearly 79% of those surveyed did not seek help with their relationships issues.

Of the 867 people surveyed who had gone through divorce and or separation, almost one-third said their biggest regret of dissolving their marriage was how it affected their kids in the process, according to an article written by the Huffington Post. The survey found that a significant amount of spouses with children reported that it affected their children’s emotional state (32%), school performance (22%) and general behaviour (17%).

Divorce and separation has been ranked as one of the most stressful life events. In Canada, nearly 41% of marriages will end before they reach the 30th year. Breaking the news about getting a divorce to a child is not easy. It requires careful thought and preparation to find the appropriate time, place and words to help them understand how family dynamics will change and not change.

How a child reacts to the news of divorce could depend on age, personality and the circumstances surrounding the divorce and separation process. The support your children receive through this emotional time will impact how well they transition and will hopefully mitigate negative feelings such as fear of failure, fear of loss, fear of change, fear of conflict and fear of betrayal in adult life.

How can you alleviate stress on your child during divorce or separation?

  • Try to not have ‘legal talks’, heated discussions in the presence of your child(ren)
  • Don’t blame your child for any issues surrounding the separation
  • Minimize interruptions to your child(ren)’s standard routine
  • Take advantage of speaking with a divorce therapist, using collaborative divorce mediated discussions, support groups and seek sound divorce advice
  • Consider having a Parenting Coordinator involved to act as an intermediary between you and your partner and the child(ren)
  • Seek reputable legal advice from a family law lawyer 

There are many questions parents struggle with after getting a divorce and there is no right or wrong way for a child to respond to the serious news. As a starting point, we offer insightful information found in our Children and Divorce Guide for free download.

At Epstein & Associates, our focus is family law and we have professionals trained in collaborative family law. Collaborative divorce can help you navigate through the stressful situation of divorce without the courts and with conflict-resolution in mind.  We welcome you to contact us for a complimentary consultation to discuss your unique family situation.