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Divorce: How to embrace a child focused approach

View profile for Jennifer Allen
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This week is Good Divorce Week 2021 (29 Nov - 3 Dec). Every year this campaign starts important conversations around divorce and separation. It is organised by Resolution, a community of family justice professionals aiming to resolve separation issues in a constructive way and delivering better outcomes for their clients.

Resolution found that, two thirds of separated parents surveyed ahead of this week’s Good Divorce Week, said they lacked help or advice about how to put children first when they split from their partner.

This year Hughes Paddison and other Resolution members are helping to raise awareness about how parents can embrace a child-focused approach to separation.

Two thirds of separating parents said they lacked advice about putting children first

Parenting tips for families going through divorce

We appreciate that when a relationship breaks down, particularly when children are involved, this can be a stressful and very upsetting time. So, we thought it might be helpful to share a few tips on how parents can put their children first during a divorce or separation.

Good communication

Don’t force a child to talk if they are not ready. Try and practise active listening. Really focus on what your child is saying, being fully present and not distracted can really help them feel heard. Be sure to follow up on conversations and provide a constant channel of communication.

A united front

Let them know that they are loved by both parents and leaving each other does not mean either of you will be leaving them. Let them know that the love that you have for them will last forever and that they do not need to take sides. This may need to be said more than once.

Address anger

Acknowledge the child’s feelings are normal, whether that’s sad, angry or distant. Ensure they have a safe space to express how they are feeling. Try not to judge or criticise their feelings even if they may be different to your own.

Take your time

There will be a period of acceptance and adaptation and then resolution. This can take many months and much longer than it takes parents to come to these stages.

Parenting after parting

Provide comforting, stable, calm, and consistent parenting; focus on the needs of your child and respond to those needs.

Minimise exposure your child may have to any conflict there may be between you and your former partner. Make sure you maintain boundaries around adult issues, keeping your issues separate.

Provide space to the other parent to enable quality time with the child with both parents, where appropriate. Do not try to influence a child, however strongly you may feel.

Above all, make it clear that it is not their fault. Let them know they are not responsible for the break-up.


Download your Free Guide

Collated by the experts at Resolution, this comprehensive guide offers lots of helpful tips on how to minimise the impact that going through a divorce can have on your children.

Download the Parenting through Separation Guide.


How can our divorce and family team help?

Our team of approachable divorce and family law specialists really understand the emotional issues surrounding separation.

Offering clear and unbiased help and advice, we work quickly and effectively to achieve a resolution and minimise any trauma or distress caused by your situation. Our experienced family team can be relied upon by you to be by your side throughout the process, ensuring the best possible outcome when it comes to disputes relating to children, property, assets or any other issues relevant on the breakdown of a relationship.

Within the team we have members of Resolution. Resolution promotes a code of conduct to be followed in family matters. The team at Hughes Paddison adopts a conciliatory approach whilst protecting our client's position and striving to reach a result which is fair.

Our Resolution Members include:

Jane Brothwood

Julie Bennett

Louise Rhys-Thomas

Jennifer Allen

Marcus Crawley

David Sterrett





If you would like help and advice on any of the issues covered in this article, please do get in touch with our Family Law Team, we’d love to help you. Call 01242 574244 or contact us via our website.

The information contained on this page has been prepared for the purpose of this blog/article only. The content should not be regarded at any time as a substitute for taking legal advice.