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Children and warring parents

When couples, married or not, separate it isn’t uncommon for the adults to forget about the precious things that were once the most important thing to them – their children.
 
As adults we are able to adapt to new situations relatively easily but for a child that can sometimes be very difficult, particularly if they do not have a strong foundation from both their parents about how things are going to be in the future.
 
Nowadays, more than 40 per cent of UK marriages end in divorce, and very many of these involve children. A staggering 94,864 children aged under 16 saw their parents’ divorce in 2013 — the latest year that figures are available — and, of those, 75 per cent were aged under 11.
 
Whilst you may not speak to your children before separating, it is possible that they will already know what’s coming because children are intuitive – they may have seen or heard the arguments or simply picked up on an uncomfortable atmosphere in the household.  Children sometimes express their anxieties in ways that are not usually part of their personality, for example, hitting out in the playground, having panic attacks or failing to reach their potential in school.
 
If parents are able to talk to their children and put to one side the difficulties they have with one another, working together for the sake of their children could be the last thing they do jointly before ending their relationship. Children should not be part of any decision making but they are entitled to be considered in any decisions that have to be made. 

Author: Jayne Kirtley, associate chartered legal executive at Atherton Godfrey

If you are intending to separate, or have already separated, and need legal advice, we have a highly experienced family department that can offer you confidential advice. Call 01302 320621 or email family@athertongodfrey.co.uk 
 
 

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