Separation and divorce can be challenging and upsetting for all involved, especially children. It is important to remember that although the relationship between the parents has ended, their role as parents will continue. Therefore, separating parents must ensure the children receive the support they need, and that consideration is given to their emotional and physical needs during this difficult time.

Once a couple decides to separate, there will be a big change to their parenting role. Parents may often find it difficult to separate their relationship feelings from their parenting feelings, and this clash can get in the way of allowing an ongoing relationship with the children. Often, many parents find it difficult to organise a routine for their children. In such cases, advice from Divorce Law Specialists can be invaluable.

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Talking With Your Co-Parent

Separation leads to many adjustments. Co-parents must have many conversations with each other and the children, which can be overwhelming, especially at the beginning of their separation journey. 

The circumstances surrounding a separation often determine how easy or difficult parents will find communicating with each other. It may be beneficial to consider getting some early help and support to establish a successful way to communicate with one another. If parents can explore ways to agree, this will benefit the co-parenting relationship and the children. 

The following may be useful ways of reaching an agreement with your co-parent: 


Mediators are trained professionals who will remain completely neutral throughout the mediation process. The mediator will act as a guide in having discussions surrounding the issues you are both facing to try to reach an agreement. There is usually no set length to the mediation process. 


Arbitration can be used as a direct alternative to court, where an arbitrator can be appointed to help to resolve a conflict. The arbitrator will decide the best course of action after a series of scheduled hearings. The timetable can be flexible, as you and your co-parent will decide it. A decision reached by an arbitrator is legally binding and can be a useful way for an agreement to be reached without going to court. 

Suppose an agreement cannot be reached regarding arrangements for the children, and you have tried alternative avenues, such as mediation. You may consider applying to the family court for a child arrangements order in that case. The court, however, should be viewed as a last resort when it comes to arrangements for the children. 

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Listening To The Voice Of Your Child

Separation is a traumatic time for you and your children. Your children may seem upset, angry or quieter than usual. It is important that a child feels heard so that you can be clear about what is going on rather than guessing. It tells the child that you are emotionally available to them, and they feel like they matter when they are listened to.

Parents often find it difficult to decipher when bringing the child’s voice into decision-making is appropriate.

When making decisions, a traffic light system may be helpful:

  • Red – This is where most of your parental and contact structure will come into play, and it is important that “red” decisions are made between you and your co-parent. Such decisions may include where your child is to spend Christmas and holidays, what school the children attend and how many days a week the children are to spend with each parent.
  • Orange – There is more flexibility in these decisions, where your child can have a say and feel heard as their view is considered. Such decisions may include how much screen time a child is to have, when a child is to go to bed and when to do homework.
  • Green – Such decisions can be child-led. Co-parents agreeing on which decisions can be child-led is a good way of enabling your child to feel empowered and can be a good way for your child to learn decision-making skills. Such decisions may include which friends a child is to see and what food they are fed.

Your child must have a voice in decision-making, especially in the green and amber areas. A child needs to feel as though they are heard when their parents are separating. 

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Child Inclusive Mediation

Child-inclusive mediation may be a useful way, if appropriate, to ensure that your child’s voice is heard in a separation.

It involves a family mediator trained as a child consultant talking with the child as part of the mediation process. This can be a good way of understanding your child’s views, needs and wishes throughout the process of making arrangements for their care following separation.

The family team at Myerson are all members of Resolution. We are committed to promoting a constructive approach to family issues that consider the whole family's needs.

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Contact Our Divorce Solicitors

If you need advice on separating with children, or you have any other queries, please contact our Divorce Law team today on:

0161 941 4000