Divorce and children
Not all single parent families exist as a result of divorce of course but with marriage breakdown at record levels more children than ever will grow up in households with only one parent. In 2004 nine out of ten of single parent households were headed by women. It is well known that a great number of children do not want their parents to get divorced even when they recognise that the grown ups are not happy together.
Although one would hope that a couple getting divorced could make their own arrangements about their offspring without quarrelling, this is often not the case. Children are frequently dragged into the divorce process and used as weapons by one or other of the warring parties. This is not only wrong but can be immensely damaging to the child.
Where agreement about maintenance cannot be reached during or after a divorce, or the wellbeing of any child is brought into question then court action becomes unavoidable. Wherever possible the courts will try to encourage those involved to resolve their differences between themselves and only usually impose a solution where this proves to be impossible. Family Lives has lots of information about current government policies that affect lone parents and their children.
Talk to the children about divorce
Talking to your children about what is happening during the divorce, listening to what they have to say and reminding them whatever is going on between their parents that they are still loved by both of you is essential.
Violence and abuse
If you have suffered violence or abuse in marriage and this has been a factor in your separation and marital breakdown then it is a possibility that it may get worse, and not better, during and after divorce. It is more than likely that such abuse, even if it has not been directed toward any children, will have had a negative effect upon them and they need to be protected from it now and later on during contact time.
Womens Aid have a twenty four hour free phone service for women in danger from domestic violence.
Mankind offer information and support to men experiencing cruelty from women in the home. If the court is involved in sorting out residency and contact for children then they will take any claims of abuse from either party very seriously and make their judgement accordingly.