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Kids First – supporting families through separation

Kids First – supporting families through separation – is an awareness campaign aimed at encouraging more families going through crisis to put children at the heart of all their decision-making.

Today we’re launching a campaign and we want you all to get behind us. It’s called Kids First – supporting families through separation. We want every mum and dad going through a divorce to put their child or children at the heart of all of their decision-making. This covers everything from long-term arrangements about where they live, to  when and where contact happens with the absent parent, to how communication is conducted with the ex from the outset.

Parenting is a job that comes for life. Our kids learn from us and are hugely influenced by the environment they grow up in. Divorce has a devastating effect on them – but it need not be the end. The child is entitled to have a relationship with both parents. The parents have a responsibility to acknowledge this and manage it effectively.

Acting like an adult with your ex is the simplest way to do this. You agree, from the outset, that you are going to be civil to each other, not try and score points, and calmly negotiate arrangements for the children, such as where they will live, when they will see the absent parent and what level of financial support is appropriate from both sides. Yes, we know this sounds easy and is a lot more difficult in real life. But it is the right thing to do.

This agreement can be captured in a parenting plan if you both agree, which records what you have said and how you agree to conduct relations going forward. There are various templates you can use for this to help out, such as The Cafcass Parenting Plan. Many people find this helps them to help the children. Everyone knows where they stand.

The acid test on all decisions relating to divorce should be: how does this affect the children? If it is going to have negative impact and there is a different way of doing it, then do it.

Over the next couple of weeks, we are going to be banging on about this. A lot. We will be posting useful articles and blogs on this topic, highlighting the resources that are out there from a wide range of sources and inviting people to join in the debate and offer their thoughts on things that worked for them – or didn’t.

We want as many people to join in to raise awareness. Divorce doesn’t need to be a battleground. The best reason for trying to avoid that is to protect your children. However, keeping things amicable also saves time, money and heartache.

We are going to dedicate our Facebook page to the cause. Please share, comment and “like” as much as you can. Retweet us, tell your friends and family and let’s get some momentum going.

If just a few families hear about this, learn something new and find a better way of managing their separation that benefits their children, it will have been worth it.

Who knows? Together we may all make a real difference.

Andrew Woolley
Managing partner, Woolley & Co, solicitors

Blog Author - Andrew Woolley

Andrew WoolleyAndrew Woolley

Andrew is the owner and managing partner of Woolley & Co. He regularly offers comments and views on a range of family law issues.

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