Monday, June 26, 2006

Children and Parental Separation

The first concern of the Courts when couples divorce is the children. Unfortunately not all parents adopt this attitude. The end of their parent's relationship creates a very difficult period for children. Worse, children often blame themselves when their parents separate and divorce. A useful website to help children deal with and understand what is happening to them is

Who the children live with is the first consideration when parents separate. Joint Residence Orders are becoming more common. It is not necessary to apportion the child's time equally between both parents for a Joint Residence Order to be made. In the past Joint Residence Orders were only made where there was a high degree of co-operation between the parents, and consequently were rare, as typically such parents have no need to ask the Courts to settle their differences.

On a practical level it is difficult for children to live out of a suitcase. The best model is for the child to have one home and for the parents to move in and out on a weekly basis. Most people react in horror to this idea but it is a useful illustration of what upheaval children are expected to go through. I remember my own daughter, when she was only six, used to spend every Wednesday night with her father and every other Friday, Saturday and Sunday night. She was constantly forgetting her P.E. kit. In the end her form teacher used to take my daughter's kit home and wash it every Friday as she said she could not bear to see her crying one more time. Do not forget that children need extra help organising their day to day lives when their parents separate.

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