For many couples, the most stressful part of divorce matters will be in trying to minimise the emotional impact on children. Here at George Ide LLP we aim to ensure our clients’ best interests and those of their dependants are maintained and our legal representation will always reflect this.
As members of Resolution our family law team aims to conduct divorce proceedings in a constructive, conciliatory and respectful manner, and we believe that, in this way, children of a relationship can be protected from unnecessary stress during divorce.
Unfortunately, the media often suggests that children of divorced parents will be disadvantaged as a result of their involvement in a family breakdown, but there are many groups and child specialists who do not agree with this outlook.
One model for helping children to thrive after divorce has been developed by Dr Christy Buchanan who is professor of psychology at Wake Forest University, North Carolina. Dr Buchanan suggests that children of divorced parents can thrive if the parents are prepared to work at it.
She says that divorced parents should treat each other in much the same way that they would treat a business colleague or a client at work and by adhering to a set of key points, which she calls the “Five Cs”, parents can hopefully avoid inflicting the emotional distress associated with an acrimonious divorce.
Conflict – Minimising conflict between parents is possibly the most effective way of helping children to cope with a divorce or family split. Openly disputing with each other or denigrating the other parent in front of the children can be really destructive. Research has revealed that children of conflicting parents often feel their loyalties are being torn and they are ultimately less well able to cope with the situation.
Care – Giving care to a child can be anything from helping to clean teeth, and doing homework together as well as bigger things such as paying for food, clothes and holidays etc. Dr Buchanan says that care giving should be “loving and responsive, as well as [having] age-appropriate limits, expectations and demands”. Both parents should give high levels of appropriate care whenever possible.
Closeness – Closeness to both parents after a divorce has shown to be best for children but, where that is not possible, a close relationship with one parent is better than loss of contact with both. Closeness comes from carrying out routine activities, both at home and while visiting the parent who does not live with the child. Special treats such as holidays and gifts can bring closeness, but smaller things like reading at bedtime and preparing meals together can also bring great benefit to the relationship.
Change – Although it is impossible not to have some changes after a divorce or family split, attempts should be made to minimise disruption. By maintaining routines and ensuring rules are upheld, both at home and while with the absent parent, a child will adjust better to their new situation. Where a major change is going to happen after divorce, parents should be open and honest with children and attempt to understand any misgivings they may have about the new situation. Respecting the child’s feelings, however difficult, will ultimately help them adjust.
Cash – Research has shown that if the standard of living is similar in both parents’ homes after a divorce, children do better. Children can suffer emotionally if one parent appears to struggle financially and the other is giving them expensive treats and gifts. If a fair structure of maintenance payments is made and upheld, difficulties surrounding money can be minimised.
George Ide’s family law team is based in Chichester and Bognor Regis, but can help you wherever you live in West Sussex, Hampshire or further afield.
Call us today to discuss you family law issue, or, to find out more about our divorce solicitors why not click through to our staff profiles.