When life doesn't go as planned and you're dealing with divorce, there's lots to think about with many emotions to manage, as well as the practicalities of splitting up your finances and home life.
SoGlos spoke to Louise Kelly, a solicitor from the Gloucestershire-based firm WSP Solicitors, about some of the best ways to look after little ones to protect them from the turmoil — sharing 5 useful tips in this hot list.
Honesty is the best policy
It's important for parents to be honest with children about their separation, while at the same time being positive about the future.
Reassuring children that both parents still love them and that they
will have two loving homes will help to provide the stability and continuity they need.
Be an adult and let your children be kids
Whether it's financial difficulties or disputes over the payment of child maintenance, it's important not to include children in any issues or disputes between the parents - or any issue of an adult nature. Tackle your adult responsibilities together and leave the little ones out of it.
Don't make children messengers
If communication has broken down between parents, children should not be used as a messenger. Parents should find another means of communicating: this could be through a parenting app or a willing neutral third party.
Think before you speak
A couple may no longer be in a relationship and may not want to think about each other's needs but whatever they think about each other, their children should not have to hear anything negative from one parent about the other parent.
WSP Solicitors says it's really important for both parents to be positive about the other
in front of or to the children directly.
Listen to what your children want
Separating parents often think about what they would like, what they think is fair and what is best for them and not necessarily the children.
If there is a dispute over where children should live and no welfare concerns, it might be appropriate to talk to the children to find out what their wishes and feelings are about what amount of time each parent should spend with them. It's important for them to be involved and included in important decisions that affect them and are relevant to them — especially with older children.