Top Tips On How To Approach Your Family Separation With Your Children

The dissolution of a parental relationship can be challenging, particularly for children who may feel lost and powerless as changes beyond their control are forced upon them. As a family lawyer, clients frequently seek my guidance on the most effective way to address this impending separation with their children. Here are some essential tips on handling this delicate matter:

 1. Ensure that your children understand and believe that they are your utmost priority, both now and in the future.

Children flourish when they have a sense of security and predictability. Collaborate with your partner to establish a co-parenting plan that outlines how you will continue to co-parent together and allocate their time between both of you. Reassure them that they are loved, emphasise their happiness as an important factor, and convey your commitment to actively facilitating and nurturing their relationship with both parents moving forward.

2. Inform your children about the separation as a united front.

Providing a joint explanation without placing blame on the other parent will help them understand the situation while maintaining a sense of reassurance about the future. Encourage them to ask questions or express any concerns they may have while both parents are present, allowing you to address them together. Emphasise that they can approach either of you if they have additional questions or worries after reflecting on the situation. It is crucial to keep the lines of communication open throughout this process.

3. Assure them that the separation is not their fault.

Children may feel responsible for their parents’ separation, wondering if their behavior or actions could have prevented it. It is crucial to take the time to reassure them that the separation is not a result of anything they did or didn’t do. Reassure them that you and your partner will continue to co-parent together, even though you are no longer a couple. Let them know that both of you will always be there for them and that, despite the separation, your love and support remain unconditional.

4. Maintain open channels of communication.

In this digital age, children are drawn to various communication methods, even when in-person meetings are not feasible. Use platforms like Facetime, Teams, Zoom, Whatsapp, or age-appropriate ones like Snapchat to regularly connect and remain involved in their lives. Even if they don’t respond immediately, they will appreciate your presence. However, it is important to be respectful and considerate of your former partner’s family time. Try to agree on suitable times for communication to minimize intrusion.

5. Utilise resources to navigate challenging situations.

Maintaining open lines of communication with your former partner sends a positive message to your children that you are still a united front in parenting. However, if you find yourself in difficult situations, it is important to consider how you will address your concerns and communicate them constructively. If direct conversation feels too emotional or confrontational, explore alternative methods such as email, which allows you to step back and reflect before sending your message. Another helpful option is to use parenting apps like OurFamilyWizard, which offer tools like shared schedules, expenses, and information. When communicating, prioritise the well-being of your children over personal emotions and keep the tone positive.

6. Reserve court as a last option.

Children should not have to endure the trauma of their lives becoming a battleground in court, where their voices may be overshadowed, and they may face intrusive and distressing questions from strangers employed by the court or even a judge. While parents may disagree on matters concerning a child’s well-being, it is crucial to prioritise the best interests of the children rather than continuing the fight for the sake of principle. Instead, explore alternative methods of resolving disputes, such as family mediation or collaborating with specialised lawyers trained in dispute resolution. By bringing together professionals experienced in resolving conflicts, provide yourselves with the time and space needed to find common ground.

If you need assistance during a separation, contact our Family Law team on 0345 207 3728 or at

Blog by Nadia Davis, a Legal Director and Family Law Specialist based in our Birmingham City Centre office.

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