Divorce is never just a matter between two people. The majority of divorces involve children and all involve the wider family of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. The impact on their lives will be considerable.
It will be a great benefit to all if this collateral damage can be managed and reduced as much as possible. This is never going to be easy. The nuclear firestorm of divorce will suck all those nearby into its destructive core. The effects of these damaging forces can be reduced by making a great effort to maintain and strengthen the existing family ties.
Children need fathers and families
The relationships with favourite grandparents or cousins must be strongly encouraged in the children's and your new life after divorce. They are the innocent victims of divorce and need the reassurance that family ties and friendships will continue wherever possible.
Children of all ages will always need both their parents in their lives and to feel loved by them. Given that 93% of children stay to live with their mother then the ability of fathers to remain there for their children is strongly influenced by their mother, despite the agreements reached in Court as part of the divorce settlement. The tragedy is that 40% of fathers lose touch with their children within two years of divorce.
Who should we blame?
It's very easy to shovel all the blame on mothers for reaping vengeance on their ex-husbands at the expense of their children. Despite this undoubtedly being true in some cases it's mostly out of the mother's selfishness (I can provide all the love my children need) or the father's lack of interest. Either way it's very damaging to the children now and later in their lives.
A recent report from a UN agency found that children growing up without a father do less well educationally, are more likely to be in trouble with the police and to abuse drugs and alcohol. They also have more difficulty later on in forming adult relationships. Is this a potential legacy any parent would like to leave for their children?
The best advice
Fathers need to play their part in bringing up their children and everyone needs to work to bring this about. Yes, there will be fathers who aren't very good at it but mothers do not have the right to restrict the father's access. Just as resident fathers have no right to restrict an unsuitable mother's access to her children.
So bury all the anger, fear and desire for revenge that there may have been in the divorce and do something really good for the innocent victims of your divorce. Children need families and fathers, that way there can be a better life after divorce for everyone.