Divorcing with children: Six things to consider

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Separating an divorcing with children can be one of the most emotionally challenging experiences that a person can go through. For parents, it can be particularly difficult to navigate the legal, financial, and emotional aspects of divorce, while also ensuring that the best interests of the child is protected.

The divorce lawyers on our panel have helped many clients to navigate the complex process of divorce with kids. Below, we will discuss some of the key issues that parents should consider when divorcing with children, including child custody and access arrangements, child support, and the impact of divorce on children. The aim of this article is to provide some useful guidance to parents who are facing the prospect of divorce. It should help them to make informed decisions about their future and that of their children.

The effects of divorce on children

Divorce can have a profound impact on children, both in the short-term and the long-term. Whilst every child is different, and the impact of divorce will depend on a range of factors, such as the children’s age, personality, and family circumstances, there are some common effects that many children experience.

  • Emotional distress: Children of divorced parents may have a difficult time processing the situation. They may experience a range of emotions in response to their parents’ divorce, including anger, sadness, anxiety, and confusion. They may feel like they are to blame for the divorce, or worry about the future.
  • Behavioural problems: Some children may exhibit behavioural problems in response to their parents’ divorce, such as aggression, acting out, or withdrawal. They may struggle with school or peer relationships, and may have difficulty adjusting to the changes in their lives.
  • Health problems: Divorce can also have physical effects on children, such as headaches, stomach aches, or difficulty sleeping. They may also be at higher risk of developing mental health problems, such as depression or anxiety.
  • Impact on future relationships: Children of divorce may also be at higher risk of experiencing relationship problems in the future, such as divorce or difficulties with intimacy.

It’s important to note that not all children will experience these effects, and many children are able to adjust to their parents’ divorce with resilience and support.

Parents can help to minimise the impact of divorce on their children by providing love, stability, and open communication, and seeking support from family, friends, or professionals if needed. By working together to create a positive co-parenting relationship, parents can help their children to navigate the challenges of divorce and build a successful future.

Understanding parental responsibility

In England and Wales, parental responsibility refers to the legal rights, duties, powers, responsibilities, and authority a parent has for a child and the child’s property. It allows parents to make decisions on behalf of their children on important matters such as education, medical treatment, and religion.

Who has Parental Responsibility?


Mothers automatically have parental responsibility.

Married fathers:

Fathers automatically have parental responsibility if they are married to the mother at the time of the child’s birth.

Unmarried fathers:

Unmarried fathers can obtain parental responsibility if they are listed on the birth certificate (for children born after December 1, 2003). This can be done through a parental responsibility agreement with the mother, by obtaining a parental responsibility order from a court, or by marrying the mother after the child’s birth.

Step-parents and partners:

Step parents and partners can acquire parental responsibility by entering into a parental responsibility agreement or by being granted a court order.

The process of divorce does not in itself affect a parent’s parental responsibility. After a divorce, both parents retain parental responsibility and are expected to cooperate in making decisions regarding their child’s upbringing.

Things to consider when divorcing with children

When parents are considering divorce, there are several key issues that they should take into account in order to protect the best interests of children involved:

Child custody and access arrangements:

Parents will need to decide on arrangements for where their children will live and how the children spend time with each parent post divorce. This can include decisions about shared custody, sole custody, and access schedules. If parents are unable to come to an agreement on child arrangements, the may need to consider letting the courts decide. A child arrangements order will be issued by the court to determine custody and access arrangements.

Family home:

Parents should also consider what will happen to the family home. Will one parent continue to live there with the children, or will the home be sold?

Child support:

Parents will also need to consider financial support for their children, including child maintenance payments and any additional expenses, such as school fees or medical costs. Again, if parents cannot agree to this, they may be required to make an application to the Family Court and obtain a legally binding court order for these matters.

Communication and co-parenting:

Effective communication and a positive co-parenting relationship are crucial for helping children to adjust to the changes brought about by divorce. Parents should work together to create a parenting plan that outlines their expectations and agreements around parenting decisions.

Emotional support:

Children of divorce may need additional emotional support during this time of transition. Parents should be attuned to their children’s needs and provide a safe and supportive environment for them to express their emotions and feelings.

Legal advice:

It is important for parents to seek legal advice from an experienced family law solicitor who can provide guidance on their rights and responsibilities. Solicitors can help parents to negotiate a fair and workable agreement that protects the best interests of their children. A solicitor will also provide advice, guidance and representation at court hearings should matters escalate to court.

Ultimately, the well-being of children should be at the forefront of parents’ minds when considering divorce.

How can Expert Family Law’s panel of solicitors assist?

Our panel of divorce solicitors understand the difficulties of divorcing with children. We ensure that the divorce solicitors on our panel have the skills and experience required to assist on your case.

The solicitors on our panel can assist you through the process of divorce, including the application, as well as assisting you with child arrangements, financial settlements and ancillary relief following the termination of your marriage.

Get in touch today using the form at the top of the page to find out if a divorce solicitor from our panel could help on your case.

Please note that we are not a firm of solicitors. We have a panel of family law firms who we may pass your case on for a fee. Expert Family Law will not charge you, the client, for our service of passing on your case.


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