Children’s welfare

 

Children’s feelings matter

When it comes to a relationship that has come to an end, children will be going through many very complex feelings and their attitudes to their parent’s might change in an irrevocable way. The emotions that children can feel at this time are not always possible to predict. They might range from very angry and anxious emotions and behaviours to feelings of confusion or disorientation. This can cause children to feel very distant from their parents. They may start to have problems at home, or at school. It is obviously very important to maintain communication with your children at this trying time.

The importance of your children’s interests
Even after a relationship comes to an end, how you and your former partner get along will send a very important message to your child. Children tend to ‘model’ behaviour on adults, and will tend to develop attitudes and behaviours in a similar way to those which have been shown by their parents. As parents, your first priority should be to put the interests and well-being of your children first. You should try to reduce the amount of conflict with your partner and try to talk about your children, and associated responsibilities such as finances, together with your partner.

Parenting plans
Parenting plans are documents which enable you, and your partner, to decide how your children are going to be looked after following your divorce. The parenting plan includes things such as responsibility for taking your children to, and picking them up from, school, where your children will live following the divorce and financial matters that might relate to the child, such as who will pay for birthday parties and school trips. The parenting plan is obtained from Cafcass, an organisation that is designed to help parents who are going through divorce.

What if we can’t agree?
There is inevitably going to be some conflict, or hurt feelings, when there is a divorce or separation. However, you should try to keep the communication channels open to try and at least make sure that you can get along on some terms. There is the option of either trying a mediation procedure, or using aspects of what is known as ‘collaborative law’ to try and agree on the way ahead, which should suit both parties. In some cases you may also try the option of some kind of family therapy, or counselling, to try and come to some kind of resolution. The success of such therapy depends upon the willingness of each party to engage in it.

Parental responsibility
Parental responsibility is a very important concept. It means that the parent has the responsibility to make the important decisions in a child’s life. If you are a Mother, you will automatically have parental responsibility. As a Father, however, you will not automatically have parental responsibility unless you were married at the time of the birth of the child. If you were unmarried then you will have parental responsibility only if your child was born after 1st of December 2003. This only applies if the Father was named in person on the child’s birth certificate. There are other ways to gain parental responsibility as a Father, and we can advise you about these conditions. These include requirements such as those around residency, or which concern the Mother’s own legal status.

Whatever you decide, it is best to get proper advice before making a decision on mediation, or a legal course of action. The decisions that you make concerning your children will have consequences for their well-being for a long time in the future so it is best that you do not rush into things.

Call Barclay Devere today on 3300 100 082