Catherine Sides works exclusively in our family department. In this article, Catherine sets out some shared parenting tips which will help you and your family work towards what is best for your children.
When parents separate, their number one priority is always the child(ren):- Who will the child(ren) live with? When will they see the other parent? How do we ensure that the child(ren) remain as unaffected as possible?
Here at Donaldson McConnell, we place just as much importance on the wishes and feelings of your child(ren) as you do. We know that, as a parent, you simply want what you feel is best for your child(ren).
Separated parents often find themselves in the middle of a power-struggle, with each parent trying to assert their “rights” in relation to the children to the children.
It shouldn’t be like this.
We have assisted a wealth of families reach an amicable situation whereby the parents can share the parenting role. Through our involvement with these families, we have collated a list of “key points” which we believe are essential for shared parenting to be successful:
Always talk positively and politely about the other parent. Despite what may be happening in terms of the legalities of the formal dissolution of the relationship and finances, the other parent remains your “team-mate” when it comes to raising your children, Put simply, your children must see their parents getting along. The last thing you need is for your child(ren) to sense weakness and then play on it to their advantage.
Try to pre-empt possible disagreements and deal with any issues before they get out of hand. For example, each parent may have differing views on which school their child(ren) should attend. You should make arrangements well in advance of the application deadline for both parents to meet to have a detailed discussion. Each parent should visit each school and all discussion should be held after each parent has educated themselves on the other’s views.
Do not communicate in anger. If your co-parent has done something with which you disagree, set time aside for a mature discussion on the issue. Try to avoid simply firing off an angry text/email. Certainly, do not broadcast the issue in front of the child(ren).
Respect each other as a parent. Respect your co-parent as someone who has just many “rights” to your child(ren) as you do.
What if we can’t make shared parenting work?
Or course, the above is not always possible and it is often the case that understandable acrimony can cloud the ability to reason.
Here at DMC, we can be your voice.
We appreciate that direct communication between parents is not always possible. We can advise you and guide through well-balanced communication with your co parent’s solicitor. In the event that the services of the local family proceedings court are required, we will ensure that your voice is heard and that, ultimately, an agreed position is reached – an agreement that is entirely in the best interests of your number one concern, your child(ren).
For more information visit our website https://www.donaldson-mcconnell.com/services/divorce-separation-family/
For help with how to best discuss difficult issues with your child you might want to visit https://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/keeping-children-safe/talking-about-difficult-topics/