Family law team: Prioritising children during separation

Separations are often stressful for every member of the family. They inevitably bring about a period of change and uncertainty, not only for adults, but also for children, yet there are many ways to make the process less painful. 

It is vital that children are not negatively impacted by these changes and that they are shielded from parental conflict.  The welfare and happiness of children should always be prioritised. 

Where safe and practical, children should have the opportunity to have loving relationships with both parents and their extended family following separation. Parental relations should be respectful and co-operative to ensure stability. Neither parent should stoop to denigrating the other or using the child as ammunition, emotional support or as messengers. Allow children to be children. 

Different living arrangements work for different families and the focus should be on the needs and interests of the children, rather than achieving equality between parents. Factors such as the geographical location of parents and other family, suitable housing, schooling, employment, finances, health and wellbeing all need to be carefully considered.  

Take children’s wishes regarding their own welfare into consideration if they can fully comprehend the situation, but never expect them to bear the burden of decision making. They should not be privy to adult conversations or quarrels. 

Parents can struggle to reach agreement on care arrangements for the children. For advice on parental responsibilities and rights, and on resources and approaches to dispute resolution available to separating parents, we would recommend that you contact one of our specialist family lawyers via

Separation is never a happy time for families, but with the right guidance and legal team, the journey can be smoother and the fairest outcome arrived at. 

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