To help children to understand what is happening it is a good idea to sit down with them and your spouse (if possible) and explain to them that you are separating in a way that they will understand. It is important to reassure them that you both still love them and that they are in no way to blame for your decision to separate. Make what you’re saying suitable for the age of your child – for example a teenager will need and want a lot more detail and reasons than a child of 5 years old. The younger the child, the more simple the explanation.
There are a great deal of resources online that can help you deal with your children and divorce through the different parts of the divorce process. Action For Children offers a support service for families going through divorce and Kids Turn has some great resources. There are also many books you can buy that explain divorce in a more child friendly way.
It’s important to make sure that you have parental responsibility as this will ensure you have a say in any important decisions. The mother will always have parental responsibility. A father can have parental responsibility in a number of different situations. If the father was married to the child’s mother when the child was born or if he married the child’s mother after the child was born then the father will be deemed to have parental responsibility. As long as the child’s birth was registered on or later than 1 December 2003 and the father is named on the birth certificate then a father who never married the child’s mother can also be deemed to have parental responsibility.
Another way to gain parental responsibility is by obtaining agreement from the mother or, alternatively, a court can order that someone have parental responsibility. Having this parental responsibility will mean that you will have a say with regards to your children’s religion or what school they’ll attend.
If you are worried that you may not have parental responsibility then it is important to seek independent legal advice from a specialist divorce firm, such as Austin Kemp Solicitors, as soon as possible.
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