Divorce is not a decision that is taken lightly, and once it has been agreed upon there will be a lot of paperwork and arrangements required to make to help the process move forward successfully. During all this change, it is important to take some time to consider how this separation might be affecting your children.
There are professional family lawyers in Melbourne who are dedicated to providing the best advice and outcomes. Seeking out professional legal guidance can help you to make the right decisions to ensure that everyone gets the best possible outcome from this difficult situation. When you’re going through a divorce, it’s crucial that you ensure that the needs of your children are considered both during the proceedings and in the aftermath.
Continue reading to learn how you can support the wellbeing of your children during this challenging transition.
Come To An Agreement
The best way to ensure your children remain happy and protected from the legal progressions of your separation is to come to an agreement with your ex-partner. If you feel you are able to communicate with this person and make decisions you are both happy and comfortable with, then make a parenting plan that focuses on the needs of your kids.
A parenting plan documents all the agreements you have come to and is where you can note down the different arrangements you will put in place to ensure a smooth transition for your children. Make sure this is all in writing, is dated, and that you both sign the document in front of a witness. A parenting plan is a great way for you to both raise any areas of concern, and sort through different scenarios so you are prepared and on the same page.
If you cannot come to an agreement through these methods, then you may need to consider applying to the court for a parenting order. This will say where the children can live, who they have contact with, and what happens with regards to other issues, such as schooling. Going down this route will mean that all decisions are taken out of your hands, and dealt with by the court, who will make rulings based on what they feel is in the children’s best interests.
Consider What Your Children Will Need
It is important that when you are making decisions that will affect your children, you consider what they will need. This will be a confusing and difficult time for them, so make sure you are communicating in a way where they feel heard and listened to and take note of any concerns they may raise.
Consider whether it would be helpful to bring grandparents and other extended family members into your parenting plan. These people can provide some other areas of support to your children and can also be a part of ensuring their welfare.
It is also important to consider how much time your children will spend with both you and your ex-partner. The law states that parents do not have to have equal shared responsibilities, unless a court says otherwise, so it is important that you have these discussions and come to an agreement that best serves your children.
Keep Track Of How You, Your Partner And Your Children Feel About The Arrangement
Throughout this transition, you should maintain open communication and ensure you understand how everyone involved is feeling. Things will be up and down for a while, as people become accustomed to the different changes, so make sure to check in with your children and see how they are coping.
There may come a point where your children decide that they don’t want to visit the other parent. This is a difficult situation, especially if there is a parenting order in place stating that they should be able to have visitation. The best approach is to remain calm and try and talk about why they are feeling this way. Once your children know they are safe, they will open up about what they are going through, and you can have a discussion on what needs to be done to best serve their needs at this moment.
Know When To Ask For Advice
Separating will not be an easy journey, and it is one that will test your limits, so it is important that you know when you should seek advice from professionals. If parenting orders are not being followed, and you are being prevented from seeing your children or communicating with them, get help from the Family Law Courts. Likewise, if your former partner does not turn up to spend time with your children, remember that you cannot make them. This is when you can reassess your parenting order and make changes that will suit the needs of you and your children.
During the process, if you feel uncomfortable with any decisions or situations, remember there are professionals out there who can offer you the right advice and help. It is also important to note that if at any point you become concerned for your children or your own personal safety, you should involve the police.
Always Put Your Children’s Needs First When Going Through A Divorce
Divorce isn’t an easy process for anyone, especially children, and it will take time for you all to heal after the final agreements are signed off on. Remember that putting your children first, checking in with them, and talking honestly will help ensure that they come away from this experience having strong relationships with you both, and a happy future.
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