Key Considerations for Parents Who Want to Separate
Nobody willingly enters a marriage knowing that they will divorce further down the line but as time goes on, there is no knowing how a marriage will turn out. If for whatever reason you have decided that it's time to end your marriage, there are many things take in to account to ensure that your divorce is as pain free as possible. Here are some key considerations for parents who want to separate.
Talking to the kids
A separation is made considerably more difficult when children are involved. Apart from the obvious considerations such as child custody, it's of the utmost importance that you think about how the split will affect them as individuals.
Parents find broaching the subject of divorce extremely difficult but this is no excuse not to. As a parent, you are responsible for your children and their wellbeing. You therefore have a duty to ensure that they are fully aware and prepared to face the changes in their living situation. Children are incredibly sensitive to conflict in the household, and neglecting to inform them of the coming separation will only cause more pain.
Sit down with your partner and calmly explain your decision to separate. Whether you decide to tell them the reasons you are separating is entirely down to you, though it's important that you do not rest blame on one party as this could cause significant distress and affect your relationship with your children further down the line.
It's vital that you never speak badly of your spouse in front of the children, no matter what you think of them. Trying to keep their lives as stable is essential and this means that you should only take them out of their family home in drastic cases. The same goes for schools, never move your children unless you are forced to move out of the immediate area as losing friends removes another important emotional safety net.
Even though you and your spouse have decided to separate, you are both responsible supporting your children financially. You have the choice of negotiating maintenance with your partner or asking the CSA (Child Support Agency) to organise the arrangement for you. It's important to note that a private agreement is not legally binding and as a result can be problematic if your relationship with your ex is complicated. An agreement through the CSA is legally binding and will last until the child or children are of the age of 16 or 20 if still in full time education.
If you're married you will need to get a divorce to formally end your relationship. There are 3 main steps to getting a divorce:
- . Filing a divorce petition - you must provide the reasons for your separation as well as apply for a divorce.
- . Decree Nisi - if you and your partner agree to the petition, you will be given the go ahead to get a divorce.
- . Decree absolute - the final stage when your marriage is legally over (this can be done 6 months after you receive the decree nisi).
Whether you decide to carry out the divorce independently or through the courts is entirely down to you. Whilst many wrongly assume you have to have a solicitor involved, you can arrange your divorce completely on your own. All you need to do is acquire the forms from your county divorce court and fill them out.
If you can civilly sit in the same room as your ex, mediation may be the best way to handle any disputes you may have over finances, childcare and the division of property. Mediators are a great way of dealing with disagreements in a cost effective manner that doesn't involve extortionate legal fees. The main benefit of using a mediator is that you can both meet in a neutral environment to discuss your issues, as well as be offered impartial advice to help settle your disputes.
Constant fighting between you and your ex will only make things more difficult, so it's always advised that you both approach mediation as a way of trying to resolve your problems like mature adults. Having a third person in the room can help ensure that you don't simply go for each other's throats.
Going through a separation is never going to be a simple process. Whilst you may feel that you can do everything yourself, it may be advisable to speak to an expert about your situation as no case is identical.