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Divorce – the effects on children

Tuesday August 11, 2009 at 2:18 pm

As necessary as divorce may be for struggling couples, children caught in the middle of a relationship breakdown are often silent victims of the break-up. Now journalist Tina Clough talks to Woolley & Co, the family law specialists, to discuss how parents can help to soften the blow of divorce.

As the recession continues to put more marriages under pressure, many families are expected to find themselves in strained relationships with arguments caused by money worries. In this difficult situation, it’s inevitable that divorce will be considered and may even prove to be the best option for the sake of everyone involved. But, how would a child understand this?

Andrew Woolley, senior partner at family law specialists, Woolley & Co said “Young children cannot be expected to understand that their parents’ divorce is an action born out of necessity and love for the child. It is best to try to reassure them that although things will be different, you will always be their source of stability and love.”

Children often feel that their lives will be changed forever, and that the change is entirely negative. Parents will want to give them the support they need to be able to adapt to the challenges ahead. Talking to them and allowing them to ask questions will help them to feel secure in their relationship with you, and will show them that you have confidence and authority in your decision to divorce.

Offering physical support is also a key factor in helping your child to deal with the trauma of getting a divorce. Sitting down together, going for a walk or a simple hug does wonders for a child and will help to keep them stay strong in this difficult time.

Mr Woolley added, “It is also vital that the child, regardless of their age, understands that the causes of divorce are no way linked to their own behaviour. Often children feel as though they are the cause for the break-up, even though they may have been assured that is not the case. It is very important that youngsters are clear on this point, and that you let them know that even though you are going through a tough time and a wide range of emotions, you are not blaming the child for this.”

Another point to remember is to keep it simple. Do not overload your child with details of new living arrangements unless they are confirmed and agreed with your spouse, as it may confuse them. Teenagers will ask a plethora of questions, but try not to divulge information that is not certain.

Mr Woolley added, “Conflicting information can be a side-effect of a divorce where the parents cannot successfully agree on important details such as living arrangements and child contact, which can adversely affect the relationship between parent and child. If you cannot agree amicably, our team of experienced and personable divorce lawyers will be able to provide you with legal advice to finalise the arrangements.”

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