How to talk civilly about parenting matters

Nobody ever enters into a relationship or marriage with the expectation that separation or divorce will be the ultimate outcome.

Nevertheless, it is an increasingly common thing that couples go through.

Sometimes a separation can be completed with very little hassle when there aren’t many assets to divide.

But, when children are involved, that is when it can sometimes start to get really messy and you need the services of family lawyers on the Central Coast.

Here at Ryan & Seton Lawyers, we see our fair share of divorce cases, and something that tends to cause the most problems along the way is the matter of parenting arrangements.

Believe us when we say that there is definitely a good way to deal with it and a bad way to deal with it.

Here are some tips for talking civilly about parenting matters.

  • The primary focus always, always, always has to be your children. It is not about what suits you or what punishes your ex-partner. Your children need to be in an environment that can provide them with the most stable and supportive A good tip is to think less about what you want and more about what you can live with.
  • Try to put your emotions aside and think about parenting arrangements in a more pragmatic sense. You are going to need to be honest with yourself about things like your career and how demanding it is and what your new living situation is going to be like after the separation. All of these will be vital in deciding what arrangements are workable.
  • If you already have a new partner, don’t use them as a figure in the parenting discussions. It is too early to be bringing someone up as a potential new parent figure, it may annoy your ex-partner and it will likely confuse your children.
  • If your children ask questions, consider a response such as, “Mum and Dad both love you and we are working together to come up with the best arrangements for you.” The older they are, the more likely the children will want to express their own wishes. It is a decision that affects your children deeply, so it is important to make them feel as though their opinion is valuable (but not determinative). Listen to what they say and tell them you and your ex-partner will take it into consideration. When the final decision is made, communicate it to your children in a positive and unified manner.
  • Do not include your children in discussions surrounding any potential outcomes, at least not at first. Research has continually shown that children who are exposed to parental conflict and used as communication vessels between parents experience poorer outcomes later in life. It is not worth the risk. Children are insightful and often realise that their parents will make decisions with their best interests at heart.

So, if you are in the unfortunate situation of needing family lawyers on the Central Coast, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. A member of our trained and experienced team will always be on hand to provide you with professional help and advice, no matter what kind of situation you have found yourself in.

For more information on wills and estate planning, read our previous blog.

 The above is not intended as legal advice. You should obtain legal advice in relation to your own specific circumstances.

Article by Thomas Galton

Thomas GaltonSenior Associate 

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