Here at Silk Family Law, we, together with our Resolution accredited contemporaries, are highlighting and supporting Good Divorce Week 2021. We believe that a good divorce (or separation) can be achieved.

Research recently carried out by YouGov found that:

  • Two thirds of separated parents said they lacked help or advice about how to put their children first when separating from a partner
  • One third of separated or divorced parents said they found it harder to keep child contact arrangements in place since the pandemic restrictions such as lockdowns began; and
  • Nearly three in ten said they have felt more stress and tension in their relationship with their ex-partner since the pandemic started.

Silk Family Law solicitors are Resolution accredited and support child-centred solutions and approaches to separation issues.

Resolution’s code of practice promotes a constructive approach to family issues which considers the needs of the whole family.

While the role of a family solicitor is to advise one party on their rights and obligations in a separation, a responsible family solicitor will try to offer a long-term view and pragmatic and realistic advice, which recognises that, while the romantic relationship between the parents has broken down, where there are children, the parties’ ongoing parenting relationship will last for the rest of their joint lives. 

The duty of a responsible family solicitor is to aid their client in navigating the often challenging issues which require determination at the end of a relationship, without fanning the flames of conflict.

The parenting relationship is formative of children’s expectations of relationships in adulthood and impacts upon their overall wellbeing and development and it is the joint responsibility of separating parents to consider this, at a time when their own feelings and emotions are running high.   This is by no means easy, in many cases, but it is possible.

To counter the unsatisfactory experience of the separating parents surveyed, Resolution has prepared a guide, ‘Parenting through Separation’, which offers information on separation as well as practical tips to manage family break up with as little impact upon children as may be achieved.  

Here are some practical tips for managing difficult conversations:

  • Put the other parent on notice of any issues that you would like to discuss so that they can consider ahead of time what response they would like to give, which should enable you both to state your positions to each other in a calm manner.
  • Speak away from the children – actively take steps and responsibility to ensure that this happens.
  • Agree ahead of starting the conversation to take time out if either of you are becoming stressed or the conversation becomes heated.  A five-minute walk around the block can be very useful!
  • Remember that not every issue has to be resolved in a single conversation and taking a step back to reflect before committing to arrangements, will give you both time to consider and reflect on the other’s position.
  • Bear in mind that you and your former partner are likely to be in different places in your emotional recovery from the separation, which will impact upon how easily or difficult it is to talk about the issues you need to address, directly to the other.  Be kind.
  • Seek support from third parties to let off steam but try not be overly influenced by the views of friends or family who may have been through their own breakup; every family break up is different and what works for your children is the right outcome for you.
  • Consider getting help from a counsellor or therapist to support your conversations and agree some ground rules.
  • Understand that a separation means change for your child and their reactions to it may vary.  Reassurance is key.  Conveying the message that you and the other parent are continuing to work together on parenting decisions despite your separation is, in itself, a great reassurance to your child.

A copy of the guide can be obtained via the Resolution website here.

Further advice on how to manage parental conflict in a child context can be found on the Silk Family Law blog.

Image credits: CDC and Alexander Dummer on Unsplash